Royal hoax DJs 'unlikely to face charges'

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IOL news dec22 Michael Christian and Mel Greig

AFP

Handout photo from Channel Nine Network news discussion show Sydney radio station 2Day FM presenters Michael Christian (L) and Mel Greig.

Two Australian DJs who made a hoax call to a hospital treating Prince William's pregnant wife Catherine are unlikely to face prosecution, police said on Friday.

Indian-born nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead three days after transferring the call to a colleague this month at a London hospital who divulged details about Kate's recovery from severe morning sickness.

Britain's Scotland Yard sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to decide whether to pursue charges against 2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian.

But New South Wales state Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas said Scotland Yard had not asked for any further information or to interview the two hosts, who made tearful apologies on television.

“Nor do we expect there to be any requests,” he was quoted as saying by News Limited newspapers, in comments confirmed by police officials.

“There was some initial contact after the death of Jacintha Saldanha but not a lot since and because of the passage of time we believe it is unlikely any charges will be laid.”

In England, the CPS is responsible for deciding whether charges will proceed in criminal cases, while police are responsible for investigating and collecting evidence.

At the nurse's recent funeral in India, her widower Benedict Barboza and the couple's two teenage children said British police were investigating the tragedy “and they have assured us of a full and fair investigation”.

An inquest heard that Saldanha was found hanged in staff accommodation at the private King Edward VII's Hospital in central London and there were no suspicious circumstances over her death. She also had marks on her wrist.

Saldanha left three notes, one of which reportedly criticised colleagues over her treatment at the hospital.

British detectives told the inquest they would be asking their counterparts in New South Wales to help them carry out interviews.

Greig and Christian, who have received death threats, posed as Queen Elizabeth II and William's father Prince Charles during the prank call and obtained private details of Kate's medical condition.

The station has cancelled the DJs' show, suspended prank calls and pledged at least Aus$500 000 (US$520 000) to help the grieving family.

Australia's media watchdog has also opened an investigation into the call. - AFP


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