No Charges in Royal Prank Tragedy


(Photo Credit: Greg Cooper/CNN)

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(CNN) — British prosecutors declined Friday to file charges against anyone involved with a prank carried out by an Australian radio show that targeted Prince William’s pregnant wife and was followed by a nurse’s suicide.

The decision by prosecutors came just days after it was announced that the radio show, “The Hot30 Countdown,” at the center of the prank had been taken off the air for good after the network expressed deep regret for the nurse’s apparent suicide after she routed through a call from the show’s DJs to the royal ward.

“Having carefully reviewed the evidence currently available, we have concluded that there is no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter,” Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of special crime at the Crown Prosecution Service, said in an e-mailed statement.

He also said that although there is some evidence to warrant further investigation into potential communications violations, it was not in the public interest to pursue charges.

“However misguided, the telephone call was intended as a harmless prank,” McHaffie said.

“The consequences in this case were very sad. We send our sincere condolences to Jacintha Saldanha’s family.”

In early December, the two DJs impersonated Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles and called King Edward VII’s Hospital to gain information about the condition of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.

The pair subsequently played the prank on air.

The nurse who transferred the call through to the ward, Saldanha, was later found dead after apparently committing suicide.

An uproar followed.

The two DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, were taken off the air. And the network, Southern Cross Austereo, suspended all prank calls, pulled advertising and ordered a comprehensive review of relevant policies and process.

Greig and Christian apologized in interviews with the Australian TV shows “A Current Affair” and “Today Tonight.”

A St. James’s Palace spokesman said the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were saddened to learn of Saldanha’s death.

Another palace spokesman told CNN at the time that “at no point did the palace complain to the hospital about the incident. On the contrary, we offered our full and heartfelt support to the nurses involved and hospital staff at all times.”

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