Prosecutors consider royal hoax charges

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PROSECUTORS are considering whether there are grounds to bring charges against the two Australian radio presenters whose hoax phone call was followed by the death of a nurse from the hospital where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated.

Detectives investigating the death of Jacintha Saldanha, who was found hanged after she handled calls in which the presenters impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles, have passed an evidence file to public prosecutors, detectives said yesterday.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) must now decide whether the case is strong enough to bring charges over the stunt, which drew widespread condemnation. Australia’s media watchdog has also launched a formal inquiry into the hoax.

“Officers submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service for them to consider whether any potential offences may have been committed by 
making the hoax call,” London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement. A spokesperson declined to discuss details of any potential offences which may have been committed.

A CPS spokesman confirmed it had received the file, but 
declined to comment on the timing or nature of possible charges. “That is what we will be considering,” he said.

Saldanha answered the call from the 2Day FM presenters in the early hours of the 
morning on 4 December.

Believing them to be members of the Royal Family, the nurse put them through to 
another member of staff at King Edward VII Hospital, where the Duchess had been admitted.

Prince William’s wife, who 
is in the early stages of pregnancy, was suffering from 
hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning 
sickness, and details of her condition were revealed by those who believed the call to be a legitimate inquiry from the Palace.

Saldanha, a 46-year-old wife and mother-of-two, was found dead three days later. She had left three suicide notes, an ­inquest revealed.

The two presenters, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, have apologised for their actions and said they are “gutted and heartbroken” over the death.

Saldanha was buried last Monday at a church in her hometown of Shirva, just 
outside Mangalore on the south-west Indian coast.

Prime Minister David Cameron has described the case as a “complete tragedy” and has said many lessons will have to be learned from the nurse’s death.