The British police were on Sunday reported to have “touched base” with their Australian counterpart and may want to speak to the two radio presenters behind the notorious hoax call to a London hospital that led to the death of Jacintha Saldanha, the Indian nurse, who answered the phone.
The move came after authorities at the King Edward VII hospital said they had legal advice that the DJs, Mel Greig and Michael Christian, “may well have broken the law” by “lying their way through” to get confidential medical details of Kate William, the Duchess of Cambridge, who was being treated for pregnancy-related sickness.
The Scotland Yard confirmed that “officers have been in contact with Australian authorities” ahead of an inquest into Ms. Saldanha’s death, but gave no details.
The Australian police said that it had been indicated to them that the London Metropolitan Police “may wish to speak to the people involved in the matter from 2DayFM”, the radio station that employed the DJs, but had not been asked to “do anything”.
“They’ve simply touched base, let us know of their interest and they will get back to us if they actually want something done. Nothing has been requested of us yet,” Deputy Commissioner for New South Wales Police, Nick Kaldas, told Sky News. “I have to stress, it hasn't been indicated to us that an offence has occurred,” he added.
The BBC said that according to legal experts the DJs have violated the Surveillance Devices Act in the state of New South Wales which prohibits the broadcast of private conversations acquired using a “listening device”.
The presenters, who have been taken off the air following intense public fury, were reported to be “close to breakdown” and receiving “intensive psychological counselling”.
A spokesman of Southern Cross Austereo, which owns the radio station, said the pair had expressed a desire to speak to the media. “We haven’t ascertained when they’re ready for that [to speak to the media] and how we’re going to organise that, but they certainly want to. They are still being wrapped in cotton wool at the moment and we are very mindful of their situation,” he said.
The station said it was going to review its broadcasting practices following a strongly-worded letter from Lord Glenarthur, Chairman of King Edward VII hospital, protesting against its presenters’ bid to “lie their way through to one of our patients”.
Max Moore-Wilton, chairman of Southern Cross Austereo, said in his reply: “I can assure you we are taking immediate action and reviewing the broadcast processes involved.”