Australian radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian (Reuters)
Australian radio presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian (Reuters)

The two Australian DJs who made a hoax phone call to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge will not face criminal charges over the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.

In December, DJs Michael Christian and Mel Greig phoned King Edward VII's Hospital in London and pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles. They claimed they were enquiring about the Duchess of Cambridge, who was at the hospital suffering from severe morning sickness.

Three days later, Saldanha, the nurse who transferred the call through, was found hanged in her room in nurses' accommodation.

After Scotland Yard asked the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) if a prosecution for manslaughter should be brought against the pair, the CPS confirmed it will not be pressing charges.

In a statement, the CPS said it had taken into account the fact that, despite the tragic outcome, the telephone call was "intended as a harmless prank".  

Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the CPS, said:  "As is well known, on 4 December 2012, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, both radio presenters in Australia, made a telephone call to the King Edward VII Hospital in London, where the Duchess of Cambridge was receiving treatment, in which they pretended to be members of the Royal Family.

"During the course of the call, private information about the Duchess's health was given, in good faith, to Ms Greig and Mr Christian and the call was later played on a radio station in Australia.

"Subsequently, Jacintha Saldanha, a nurse at the hospital who had initially taken the call but who had not herself passed on the information, tragically took her own life.

"The Metropolitan Police Service provided the CPS with a file of evidence on 19 December 2012 and sought our advice on whether a prosecution should be brought.

"Having carefully reviewed the evidence currently available we have concluded that there is no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter and that although there is some evidence to warrant further investigation of offences under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003, no further investigation is required because any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest." 

The Hot 30 programme, the radio show from which the pair had made the on-air prank call, has since been dropped by Sydney-based broadcaster 2Day FM.

Christian and Greig have not been fired by the radio broadcaster but will only return to work "when the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents".

Following the death of mother-of-two Saldanha, Christian and Greig made a tearful apology in which they said they were "heartbroken" at the incident.

Christian, who pretended to be Prince Charles during the hoax call, said: "These prank calls are made every day, on every radio station in every country around the world and they have been for a long time, and no-one could've imagined this to happen." 

Greig added: "There's nothing that can make me feel worse than what I feel right now. And for what I feel for the family. We're so sorry that this has happened to them."