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Britain says no charges against Australian DJs for royal hoax

February 01, 2013|By Janet Stobart
  • Australian radio DJs Michael Christian, left, and Mel Greig appear during an interview with the TV station.
Australian radio DJs Michael Christian, left, and Mel Greig appear during… (Associated Press / Channel…)

LONDON --Two Australian disc jockeys who called a London hospital impersonating members of the royal family as a hoax three days before a nurse's suicide will not face any charges, British prosecutors said Friday.

Prosecutors said there were no grounds for charges of manslaughter against Mel Greig and Michael Christian in the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who was found hanged Dec. 7.

The Crown Prosecution Service said in a statement “that there is no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter and that although there is some evidence to warrant further investigation under the Data Protection Act and the Malicious Communications Act ... any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest.”

The CPS said there was no possibility of extradition from Australia for the potential offenses and that the original intent of the call was “a harmless prank” even though “the consequences were very sad.”

Greig and Christian phoned the King Edward VII hospital Dec. 4 asking about the pregnant Catherine, the duchess of Cambridge. Catherine, the former Kate Middleton, is Prince William's wife.

Saldanha initially took the call to the hospital and then patched it through to a colleague, who provided information about Catherine's condition to the disc jockeys. Greig and Christian had posed as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles.

Saldanha's death provoked grief-stricken reactions from her family and hospital staff as well as tearful apologies from the disc jockeys. 

"The consequences of that hoax call are well known, and tragic," John Lofthouse, the hospital's chief executive, said in a statement. "We will continue to support the family of much-loved nurse Jacintha Saldanha during what continues to be a very sad time."

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