23 Dec 2012

UK prosecutors considering file on hoax call

7:47 am on 23 December 2012

Prosecutors in Britain are considering whether two Australian radio hosts committed any offences during a hoax call to the hospital treating the Duchess of Cambridge, after which a nurse died.

2Day FM presenters Mel Greig and Michael Christian pretended to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles in a call on 4 December to King Edward VII hospital where Catherine was being treated for acute morning sickness.

One of the nurses who was fooled by the hoax call, was found dead several days later.

The ABC reports Scotland Yard sent a file on Wednesday to the Crown Prosecution Service for a decision on whether any offences were committed.

Jacintha Saldanha, 46, was found dead on December 7 in her lodgings at the hospital in central London.

New South Wales police have confirmed they had been contacted by London Metropolitan Police about the hoax.

On Saturday, Southern Cross Austereo chief executive Rhys Holleran said he was confident the law had not been breached.

However, Sydney University law professor Barbara McDonald said the radio code requires consent before conversations are broadcast.

"New South Wales has a surveillance devices act which says that a person mustn't record a private conversation - and a private conversation in NSW includes a conversation to which they are a party," she said.

"So you're not able to record a conversation that you're having with someone else without their consent."

The ABC reports the hoax call caused an international scandal and the fall-out forced 2Day FM to suspend its advertising and take the presenters and their programme off the air.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has begun an investigation.

2Day FM has pledged to donate at least $A500,000 to a memorial fund for Mrs Saldanha's family.