Australia’s High Court has upheld a ruling that radio station 2Day FM broke the law by airing a hoax call to a hospital which was treating Kate Middleton for morning sickness.
DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian made international headlines in 2012 when nurse Jacintha Saldana who fell for their prank later killed herself.
On March 4, the High Court overturned a previous decision which cleared 2Day FM.
The station could now be fined or see its license suspended or revoked.
2Day FM said Wednesday’s decision “means that there is a serious defect in Australian broadcasting law”.
The High Court ruling upheld an earlier finding by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) that the station broke the law by not obtaining consent to air the call from either of the hospital staff featured.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian called King Edward VII’s Hospital in London on December 2012 pretending to be the Queen and Prince Phillip.
Nurse Jacintha Saldana, 46, answered the call and transferred it to a colleague, who gave details of Kate Middleton’s condition. Following widespread media coverage Jacintha Saldanha was found hanged three days later.
ACMA had ruled in November 2013, nearly a year after the prank took place, that the radio station had broken the law by broadcasting the call.
The station successfully sued the ACMA in the Federal Court, arguing that the media watchdog did not have the authority to decide whether a criminal offence had been committed and overturned its decision.
Wednesday’s High Court ruling reverses that Federal Court decision, finding that the ACMA does have that power. The authority can now decide whether to issue a penalty to the station of a fine or suspension of license.
In February 2013, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service said there was no evidence to support a charge of manslaughter against Mel Greig and Michael Christian.
DJ Mel Greig, who was at the centre of Kate Middleton prank call, linked to the death of nurse Jacintha Saldanha, has resigned from Australian radio station 2Day FM.
Mel Greig, who will leave her post at the end of December, has also dropped legal proceedings against her employer Southern Cross Austereo (SCA).
She launched a claim against the company in July, claiming it failed to maintain a safe workplace.
An SCA statement said the dispute had been “amicably resolved”.
Exactly one year ago, Mel Greig and her co-host, Michael Christian, made a prank call to the King Edward VII hospital where pregnant Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian pretended to be the Queen and Prince Charles seeking information on Kate Middleton’s condition.
Mel Greig has resigned from Australian radio station 2Day FM
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha, who answered the phone, transferred the call to a colleague. The 46-year-old was found hanged three days later.
The incident prompted widespread criticism of the DJs, who apologized in the wake of the incident.
Mel Greig has remained off air but co-host Christian returned to work two months later.
She wanted it “made clear” that she was not responsible for the decision to broadcast the call.
In the statement about Mel Greig’s departure from the company, Southern Cross Austereo reiterated its position that recording and broadcasting the call was “not unlawful”.
It also said 2Day FM decided to broadcast the call despite suggestions from Mel Greig that it should be changed. It stressed that SCA had “at all times taken complete responsibility for the hoax call”.
In February, the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service decided there was insufficient evidence to charge Michael Christian and Mel Greig with manslaughter over Jacintha Saldanha’s death.
Mel Greig is expected to give a statement at the inquest into Jacintha Saldanha’s death. SCA added that they would also co-operate fully.
Jacintha Saldanha’s suicide note has revealed that Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who were given details of Kate Middleton’s health by the nurse during a radio hoax, drove her to take her own life.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, directly blamed the radio presenters in a suicide letter found by her hanged body.
The note said: “I hold the Radio Australians Mel Greig and Michael Christian responsible for this act.
“Please make them pay for my mortgage.”
Jacintha Saldanha left the handwritten note in her living quarters close to King Edward VII’s Hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated for acute morning sickness last year.
The nurse took her own life last December- just three days after she transferred the hoax call to a ward nurse.
It had been thought that Jacintha Saldanha was unhappy with how the hospital treated her after falling victim to the prank call.
But she exonerates the hospital from any responsibility in the letter and points the finger of blame at the 2Day FM presenters.
Jacintha Saldanha, a mother-of-two, addressed the message to her managers at the exclusive London hospital.
She said: “Please accept my apologies. I am truly sorry. Thank you for all your support.”
Jacintha Saldanha’s suicide note has revealed that Australian DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian drove her to take her own life
An inquest into Jacintha Saldanha’s death was due to begin this week but has been delayed. The nurse was found hanging by a scarf from a wardrobe in her bedroom on December 7.
Jacintha Saldanha shared a home in Bristol, UK, with her husband Benedict Barboza, 49, and their two children, Junal, 17, and Lisha, 14.
She had been working in England for ten years but was said to be having problems working at King Edward VII.
It has been revealed Jacintha Saldanha had been taking anti-depressants for nine months after attempting suicide twice in 2011.
She was closely monitored as a high-suicide risk but her employers were unaware of this.
Radio DJ Mel Greig has not returned to work since the hoax call was broadcast in December.
She made the call with co-host Michael Christian, who has since taken a lower profile job at a Melbourne station.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian were sent death threats and hate mail in the aftermath of the prank call.
The radio presenters rang the hospital impersonating Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles and asked questions about Kate Middleton’s pregnancy.
Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the radio station, has offered to pay 500,000 AUD into a trust fund for Jacintha Saldanha’s family.
Labour MP Keith Vaz spoke on behalf of Jacintha Saldanha’s family.
He said: “The forthcoming inquest will hopefully provide answers for the family and for them time will represent closure.”
2Day FM’s Hot 30 programme, the Australian radio show that made the hoax call to the hospital treating pregnant Kate Middleton in December, has been cancelled.
2Day FM’s Hot 30 programme had been taken off air following the death of nurse Jacintha Saldana, who was found hanged after forwarding the call.
The broadcaster said a new show, hosted by a different DJ, would fill the slot.
Michael Christian and Mel Greig, the DJs who made the call, were still employed by the station, it added.
The pair have been on leave since the incident and a music-based show without a host DJ has been broadcast in their show’s place.
“We look forward to Mel and MC returning to work when the time is right, in roles that make full use of their talents,” said Rhys Holleran of Southern Cross Austereo, owner of 2Day FM.
“We will discuss future roles with them when they are ready.”
2Day FM’s Hot 30 programme, the Australian radio show that made the hoax call to the hospital treating pregnant Kate Middleton in December, has been cancelled
Kate Middleton was being treated at King Edward VII’s Hospital for an extreme form of morning sickness when Michael Christian and Mel Greig made their prank call pretending to be members of the Royal Family.
Jacintha Saldana answered the call and put them through to another nurse who gave an update on Kate Middleton’s condition.
Jacintha Saldana was found hanged at her home three days later.
Last month the Australian media watchdog launched a formal inquiry to examine whether any broadcasting rules had been breached.
2Day FM also pledged to give at least 500,000 Australian dollars from its advertising profits to the family of Jacintha Saldana.
The Australian media watchdog has launched a formal inquiry into the hoax call to the London hospital, where Kate Middleton was being treated, after nurse Jacintha Saldanha’s death.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead on Friday, three days after taking the call from Australian radio station 2Day FM.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will focus on the 2Day FM license holder and not directly on the presenters who made the prank call.
It will be examining if “broadcasting obligations” were breached.
On Wednesday, speaking in the Commons, UK Prime Minister David Cameron called Jacintha Saldanha’s death a “complete tragedy” and said lessons needed to be learnt.
Jacintha Saldanha had taken a call from presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who were pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, at the King Edward VII’s Hospital, where the duchess was being treated for severe morning sickness.
ACMA said its investigation would look at the compliance of 2Day FM’s licensee, Today FM Sydney Pty Ltd, with its license conditions and the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said: “The ACMA’s formal regulatory relationship is always with the relevant licensee, and not the presenters of any broadcast in question. The ACMA will be examining whether the licensee has complied with its broadcasting obligations.”
The Australian Communications and Media Authority will focus on the 2Day FM license holder and not directly on the presenters who made the prank call
Under Australia’s Broadcasting Services Act, radio and television licensees have primary responsibility for ensuring that the material they broadcast reflects “community standards”.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, answered the call from the 2Day FM presenters in the early hours of the morning on 4 December and, believing them to be members of the Royal Family, put them through to another nurse who gave a detailed update on the duchess’s condition.
She was found dead three days later at staff accommodation close to the hospital.
Southern Cross Austereo, which owns 2Day FM, said all profits from advertising on the station for the rest of the year would go into a fund for Jacintha Saldanha’s family.
MP Keith Vaz, who met Jacintha Saldanha’s family in Parliament on Monday night, has called on the hospital where she worked to hold a full inquiry.
He has also written to Southern Cross Austereo’s chief executive Rhys Holleran, expressing concern that the company had “not taken any steps to assist the family”.
“There has been no written apology, no request for a meeting with the family and no attempt to travel to the United Kingdom to express contrition,” he wrote.
Scotland Yard said the results of a post-mortem examination on Jacintha Saldanha would be released on Thursday morning at an inquest into her death.
The death is not being treated as suspicious and the inquest hearing in London is expected to be opened and adjourned as inquiries are continuing.
The two presenters involved in the hoax call, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, have said they are “gutted and heartbroken” over the death of Jacintha Saldanha.
2Day FM, the Australian radio station whose DJs made a hoax call to nurse Jacintha Saldanha who was later found dead, is to give at least 500,000 AUD to a fund for her family.
Sydney broadcaster 2Day FM said it would donate the money from its advertising profits.
Jacintha Saldanha transferred the call to a colleague who gave information about Kate Middleton, who was a patient at the London hospital.
Her post-mortem examination is to take place later.
Jacintha Saldanha answered the Australian presenters’ call in the early hours of the morning on December 4th and, believing they were members of the Royal Family, put them through to another nurse, who gave an update on the duchess’s condition in detail.
Kate Middleton was being treated in the King Edward VII’s Hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness.
Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was pronounced dead on Friday morning at staff accommodation close to the hospital. An inquest into her apparent suicide is due to be opened in the next few days.
The company which owns the station, Southern Cross Austereo, said all profits from advertising on 2Day FM for the rest of the year would be donated to an appropriate memorial fund that would directly benefit the family, with at least 500,000 Australian dollars being donated.
Rhys Holleran, SCA’s chief executive, said: “We are very sorry for what has happened. It is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts continue to be with the family.
“We hope that by contributing to a memorial fund we can help to provide the Saldanha family with the support they need at this very difficult time.”
It also cancelled its Christmas party, saying it would be “inappropriate” to go ahead.
2Day FM, the Australian radio station whose DJs made a hoax call to nurse Jacintha Saldanha who was later found dead, is to give at least 500,000 AUD to a fund for her family
Lord Glenarthur, chairman of King Edward VII’s Hospital, welcomed the media company’s decision and said it could contribute to the hospital’s own memorial fund.
He added that it had received many donations from around the world.
Jacintha Saldanha’s family made a private visit to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, where she worked, on Monday.
MP Keith Vaz, who met Jacintha Saldanha’s family in Parliament on Monday night, said they had been left “devastated” by the loss of “a loving mother and a loving wife”.
Flanked by Jacintha Saldanha’s husband Benedict Barboza and her two teenage children, Keith Vaz said: “They just want me to say that they are extremely grateful to the public here in the United Kingdom and throughout the world who have sent them messages of condolences and support following the death of Jacintha.
“This is a close family. They are devastated by what has happened. They miss her every moment of every day, but they are really grateful to the support of the British public and to the public overseas for the messages of support and kindness.”
Keith Vaz had earlier criticized the hospital for not giving the family more support.
He said: “The hospital has sent them a letter, which I have seen, but I’m surprised that nobody has made the journey to Bristol to sit with them and offer them the counselling that I think they need.”
In response, the hospital said its chief executive, John Lofthouse, had spoken to Benedict Barboza on Friday by phone and offered to meet him whenever he wanted.
The hospital has launched a memorial fund to support the nurse’s family and a private memorial service will be held later this week.
In the hoax call, the presenters, Michael Christian and Mel Greig, had pretended to be Prince Charles and the Queen asking about the duchess in hospital.
They said in a tearful interview with Australian television broadcast on Monday that they were “gutted and heartbroken” Jacintha Saldanha’s death.
Christian said: “It was something that was just fun and light-hearted and a tragic turn of events no-one could have predicted or expected.
“We are shattered, heartbroken and our deepest sympathy goes to the family, friends and all those people affected. Mel and myself are incredibly sorry for the situation and what’s happened.”
Meanwhile, Kate Middleton has cancelled an appearance at the premiere of the Hobbit on Wednesday. Her office says she will continue to “rest privately” at home. Prince William is due to attend.
Kate Middleton was being treated in the hospital for hyperemesis gravidarum, an extreme form of morning sickness.
Australian radio station 2Day FM at the centre of the UK royal hospital hoax death says it is going to review its broadcasting practices.
Nurse Jacintha Saldanha was found dead three days after putting through a call that gathered details of pregnant Kate Middleton’s condition.
The hoax call was made by DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who have been taken off air and are being counseled.
Neither have commented but do want to speak to the media, a spokeswoman said.
The board of Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the radio station, 2Day FM, met on Sunday to discuss a highly critical letter from the hospital which was the victim of the prank call.
Southern Cross Austereo chairman Max Moore-Wilton promised in a letter to the chairman of King Edward VII’s Hospital that the company would co-operate with any investigation.
He said: “We are all saddened by the events of the last few days. They are truly tragic.
“It is too early to know the full details leading to this tragic event and we are anxious to review the results of any investigation that may be made available to us or made public.
“We can assure you that we will fully cooperate with all investigations.
“As we have said in our own statements on the matter, the outcome was unforeseeable and very regrettable.
“I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast processes involved.”
Kate Middleton’s hoax call was made by DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who have been taken off air and are being counseled
An inquest into Jacintha Saldanha’s apparent suicide is due to be opened in the next few days.
She was pronounced dead on Friday morning at staff accommodation close to the hospital.
Jacintha Saldanha had answered the presenters’ call and, believing they were members of the Royal Family, put them through to another nurse, who described the Duchess of Cambridge’s condition in detail.
There has been a strong reaction both in the UK and Australia towards Mel Greig and Michael Christian since the death of Jacintha Saldanha, and both have been receiving counseling.
Both deleted their Twitter accounts and were taken off the air, but a Southern Cross Austereo spokeswoman said they had “expressed a desire to speak”.
“We haven’t ascertained when they’re ready for that and how we’re going to organize that, but they certainly want to,” the spokeswoman said.
The nurse’s family was being comforted by relatives and friends at their home in Bristol.
In a statement last night, Jacintha Saldanha’s family said they were “deeply saddened” by the death and asked for privacy.
Meanwhile, Prince William will not attend the British Military Tournament in London later on Sunday.
A St James’ Palace spokesman said the prince had opted instead to spend Sunday privately with Kate Middleton, who had been in hospital with an extreme form of morning sickness called hyperemesis gravidarum.
The death of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse who took a hoax call about the Duchess of Cambridge, was a “tragedy”, Australian 2Day FM radio station which broadcast it has said.
Rhys Holleran, chief executive of the company that owns Sydney radio station 2Day FM, said DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian were “completely shattered” by the death of Jacintha Saldanha, 46.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian posed as the Queen and Prince Charles in a call on Tuesday morning.
The station later suspended adverts, and the show has been taken off-air.
Speaking at a press conference in Melbourne, Rhys Holleran, chief executive of Southern Cross Austereo, said he did not think any laws had been broken.
This was in contrast to a statement on Tuesday by hospital chief executive John Lofthouse, who said he had “received advice that what the Australian broadcasters did may well have broken the law”.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian telephoned the hospital early on Tuesday morning, and recorded the call. It was then assessed by the station’s lawyers before being broadcast on 2Day FM.
Jacintha Saldanha, a duty nurse, answered the phone because it was 05:30 GMT and there was no receptionist on duty.
She put the pair through to Kate Middleton’s nurse, who unwittingly revealed details of the pregnant duchess’s medical condition.
The duchess had been admitted on Monday for acute morning sickness, and was discharged on Thursday.
Rhys Holleran told journalists that Mel Greig and Michael Christian’s show would not be returning until further notice.
He said: “This is a tragic event that could not have been reasonably foreseen and we are deeply saddened by it.”
But he added: “I think that prank calls as a craft in radio had been going on for decades. They are done worldwide and no-one could reasonably have foreseen what happened.”
The network later suspended all advertising on 2Day FM until Monday.
The decision was meant as a sign of respect, although with several advertisers, including Australia’s largest supermarket chain, already pulling their adverts, it was more like damage limitation and to avoid further bad publicity.
Mel Greig and Michael Christian are taken off air following Jacintha Saldanha’s death
Before the death, the country’s media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, had received complaints about the broadcast. Chairman Chris Chapman said: “These events are a tragedy for all involved and I pass on my heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased nurse in London.
“The ACMA does not propose to make any comments at this stage, but will be engaging with the licensee, Today FM Sydney, around the facts and issues surrounding the prank call.”
In a statement, Jacintha Saldanha’s family said they were “deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha”. They have requested privacy from the media.
On Friday, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said in a statement they were also “deeply saddened” by the death of Jacintha Saldanha, a duty nurse who was married with two children.
And King Edward VII hospital paid tribute to “a first-class nurse who cared diligently for hundreds of patients”.
Jacintha Saldanha – who was staying in hospital accommodation close to hospital – was the person who answered the call from the DJs and was not the nurse who discussed the duchess’s medical condition.
She had not been suspended or disciplined by the hospital.
However, she had felt “very lonely and confused” as a result of what had happened.
Jacintha Saldanha, also known as Jess, is thought to have come to the UK from southern India more than ten years ago and settled in the UK with her partner, 49-year-old hospital accountant Benedict Barboza.
The couple bought their £123,000 three-bedroomed home in 2005 in the Westbury-on-Trym district of Bristol.
After working for the North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Frenchay and Southmead hospitals, it is believed the nurse chose to apply for a job at King Edward four years ago and appears to have been living in the nursing accommodation ever since.
She has a son called Junal, 16, and daughter, believed to be 14. She stayed in London when she was working before returning to her family on days off.
The St James’s Palace statement said the duke and duchess “were looked after so wonderfully well at all times by everybody at King Edward VII Hospital, and their thoughts and prayers are with Jacintha Saldanha’s family, friends and colleagues at this very sad time”.
A palace spokesman later added 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.”
Scotland Yard said officers were called at 09:35 GMT on Friday after reports of a woman found unconscious at an address in Weymouth Street, central London. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police said the death was not being treated as suspicious.
The family of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse found dead in a suspected suicide just two days after transferring a hoax call about Kate Middleton, told of their devastation at losing her.
Mother-of-two Jacintha Saldanha, who was working on the switchboard at the King Edward VII Hospital when 2DayFM obtained intimate details about Kate Middleton, was found dead this morning.
As the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spoke of their “deep sadness” at the tragedy, the grieving family of the “excellent” nurse said: “We as a family are deeply saddened by the loss of our beloved Jacintha.”
Tonight the owners of 2DayFM radio station which employed Mel Greig and Christian Michael announced that the duo will not return to their show until further notice.
It is believed that senior management at 2Day FM were so shocked at the death of Jacintha Saldanha that bosses have ordered the pair off the air – probably never to return.
The family of Jacintha Saldanha, the nurse found dead in a suspected suicide just two days after transferring a hoax call about Kate Middleton, told of their devastation at losing her
A statement from the station owners said: “Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) and 2Day FM are deeply saddened by the tragic news of the death of the nurse, Jacintha Saldanha from King Edward V11 Hospital and we extend our deepest sympathies to her family, and all that have been affected by this situation around the world.
“CEO Rhys Holleran has spoken with the presenters, they are both deeply shocked, and at this time we have agreed that they not comment about the circumstances.
“SCA and the hosts have decided that they will not return to their radio show, until further notice out of respect for what can only be described as a tragedy.”
A hoax call from Australian radio station 2Day FM presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, pretending to be the Queen and Prince Charles, has been made to King Edward VII hospital where Kate Middleton is being treated for morning sickness.
King Edward VII hospital in London said a nurse had discussed the Duchess of Cambridge’s condition with an Australian radio station and deplored the “foolish prank”.
Hospital’s chief executive said confidentiality was taken seriously and telephone protocols are under review.
Two radio presenters, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, last night tricked staff at the Duchess of Cambridge’s hospital into giving a full update on her condition.
In an extraordinary stunt that provoked fury, the Australian 2Day FM presenters impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles and found themselves talking to pregnant Kate’s private nurse.
A nurse tells Mel Greig and Michael Christian that the Duchess is about to be “freshened up”, saying: “She’s sleeping at the moment and she has had an uneventful night.
“She’s been given some fluids, she’s stable at the moment.”
Australian 2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian impersonated the Queen and Prince Charles and found themselves talking to pregnant Kate Middleton’s private nurse
King Edward VII Hospital in central London today verified that the call was genuine but criticized it as “a foolish prank call that we all deplore”. The stunt triggered global outrage.
The presenters started the show by claiming they have the phone number of the King Edward VII Hospital and call it, claiming they want to “speak to Kate”.
It came as Prince William left his wife’s beside last night after a six-hour vigil and for the first time in more than 24 hours finally felt able to offer a smile.
Kate Middleton was said to be feeling better, but will continue to receive treatment for the next few days.
The Duchess has been on a drip in hospital after being admitted on Monday with an acute – and potentially dangerous – form of morning sickness.
St James’s Palace said yesterday: “The Duchess of Cambridge is continuing to feel better. She and the duke are immensely grateful for the good wishes they have received.
“She will remain in hospital at present and will continue to be treated for hyperemesis gravidarum.”
In spite of William’s obvious concern, the couple may be forced to spend the first months of Kate’s pregnancy apart if her medical condition does not improve.
The condition that the duchess, who is believed to be only eight weeks pregnant, has been diagnosed with can last for the first five months of pregnancy – sometimes even for the entire duration.
It may require regular hospital treatment because it can lead to severe dehydration, putting mother and baby at risk.
A spokesman for Prince William and Kate Middleton said he would be making no comment on the prank.