Saldanha’s death: UK prosecutors consider criminal charges
London: British police probing Indian-origin nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s death following a hoax call to a hospital treating a pregnant Princess Kate, has passed a file to the Crown Prosecution Service to review whether the two Australian DJs behind the prank had committed any offences.
Scotland Yard has been investigating the circumstances that led up to the apparent suicide of 46-year-old Saldanha, a nurse at the King Edward VII Hospital, on December 7, three days after she answered a phone call from the two DJs pretending to be members of the Royal Family.
A spokesman of Scotland Yard said 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-pound fine in the magistrates’ court or an unlimited fine in the Crown court.
The 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,” he said. Saldanha, a mother of two, was found hanging in staff accommodation at the hospital where 30-year-old Kate had been treated for acute morning sickness.
The Indian-origin 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.
Saldanha transferred the call to another nurse who unwittingly gave the DJs an update on Kate’s condition.
Three days later, Saldanha was found hanging. She had left three suicide notes, her inquest was told.
In one of three suicide notes, she reportedly expressed “deep anger” against the DJs and held them responsible for her death.
Saldanha’s funeral took place on Monday in Shirva, near Mangalore in Karnataka.
Her children described the “unfillable void” left in their lives by their mother’s death, as a mass was held at Westminster Cathedral on Friday.