London police could charge 2DayFM DJs

ONE of the radio announcers involved in the infamous Duchess of Cambridge prank call could be charged with attempting to obtain medical details by deception, London police have said.

Announcer Michael Christian, who started out his radio career in Gilgandra, could be faced with the charge, after he and another 2DayFM DJ, Mel Greig, took part in a prank phone call to the hospital where the Duchess was a patient.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, London police could press charges against the Austereo radio station if it was found to have broadcast the prank without the permission of its participants.

On December 4, nurse Jacintha Saldanha was working at the King Edward VII's Hospital and took a call from Mr Christian and Ms Greig, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, inquiring about the Duchess' condition, who had been hospitalised with acute morning sickness. Three days later, the Indian-born nurse's body was found, along with suicide notes allegedly written by her, that read she "felt ashamed of her role in the call, blamed the DJs for her death, and criticised hospital staff."

The Herald reported that London's Metropolitan Police said detectives had sent a file to the Crown Prosecution Service over the prank.

The grieving Saldanha family sent a letter containing 20 questions to Austereo demanding answers about the contributing factors to Ms Saldanha's death.

Austereo confirmed it had received the letter and was "considering a response."

An Austereo spokeswoman admitted there had been no direct contact with the family since Ms Saldanha's death.

"No we haven't written to the family," she said. "We wrote to Mr Vaz, who was representing the family."

The 2Day FM program is still off the air indefinitely. "We have no plans to bring it back at the current time," the spokeswoman said.

Many Dubbo residents, at the time of Ms Saldanha's death, had spoken of their anger at the extensive media coverage. Some said the media "had been harsh" and the DJs had to "live with it for the rest of their lives".

As a result of the prank, both Star FM and Zoo FM at Dubbo are now prank-call-free. The stations, owned by Southern Cross Austereo and Broadcast Operations Group respectively, have both taken the prank scandal on board.


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