Prosecutors consider criminal charges over Kate Middleton hoax call
Published 22/12/2012 | 15:36
THE Australian disc jockeys who made a hoax call to a hospital treating the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge could face criminal prosecution in Britain after police passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service.
Scotland Yard has been investigating the circumstances that led up to the apparent suicide of Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at the King Edward VII Hospital, after she answered a phone call from two DJs pretending to be members of the Royal Family.
Detectives have passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to review whether “any potential offences may have been committed by making the hoax call”.
It has not been disclosed what possible offences Scotland Yard have been pursuing, but detectives are thought to have examined whether DJs from 2Day FM radio station in Sydney, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, breached the Data Protection Act.
The legislation makes it an offence to “knowingly or recklessly ... obtain or disclose personal data or the information contained in personal data”.
It is unclear whether the DJs could face extradition from Australia to Britain if the CPS decides there is a reasonable chance of securing a conviction in the courts.
The Data Protection Act offence is punishable by a fine rather than imprisonment - up to a £5,000 fine in the magistrates’ court or an unlimited fine in the Crown court.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Following the death of Jacintha Saldanha, officers have liaised with the Crown Prosecution Service as to whether any criminal offences had been committed in relation to the hoax call made to King Edward VII Hospital in the early hours of Tuesday December 4.
“On Wednesday December 19, 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.”
Mrs Saldanha, 46, a mother of two, was found dead in staff accommodation at the hospital where the Duchess, 30, had been treated for acute morning sickness.
The nurse had answered the telephone at the hospital in Marylebone, central London, and the two presenters convinced her they were the Queen and the Prince of Wales.
Mrs Saldanha transferred the call to another nurse who unwittingly gave the DJs an update on the Duchess’ condition.
Three days later the nurse was found hanging. She had left three suicide notes, her inquest revealed.
It has been reported that she wrote in one of three suicide notes that she expressed “deep anger” against the DJs and held them responsible for her death.
Mrs Saldanha’s funeral took place on Monday in Shirva, on the coast of south west India.
Mrs Saldanha’s children described the “unfillable void” left in their lives by their mother’s death as a mass was held at Westminster Cathedral yesterday.