No charges to be pressed over prank call tragedy
By Chris Cooke | Published on Monday 4 February 2013
The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service has said it will not bring any charges over the hoax call made by an Australian radio station last year, which it’s believed contributed to the death by suicide of a London nurse.
As previously reported, Aussie DJs Michael ‘MC’ Christian and Mel Grieg called London’s King Edward VII Hospital last year while it was treating Kate Middleton, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles enquiring about their (grand)daughter-in-law’s condition. Taken in by the hoax, nurse Jacintha Saldanha connected the call to a colleague who then discussed Middleton’s health with the radio presenters.
When the Australian DJs then broadcast the pre-recorded hoax the stunt became global news. While most media criticism about the prank was aimed at MC and Grieg and their employers 2day FM rather than the hospital caring for Middleton, Saldanha took her own life a few days later. Since the tragic turn of events MC and Grieg have been off the air and, while 2day FM say they will both return at some point, a new show launched in their old slot last month.
The CPS last week said that, having considered the Metropolitan Police’s investigation into the case, they had concluded there was not a case for manslaughter here, and that while it was possible elements of the UK’s Data Protection Act, Communications Act and Malicious Communications Act had been breached by 2day FM’s decision to air the prank call, no action would be taken, partly because it is impossible to extradite individuals from Australia for such violations, and partly because “however misguided, the telephone call was intended as a harmless prank”.
Media regulators in Australia are still considering the incident.