Kate Middleton's pranksters are off the hook legally, though their conscience is another matter.
Michael Christian and Mel Greig—the Australian DJs whose hoax call to a London hospital last month allegedly prompted a nurse to commit suicide after private information about the pregnant Duchess of Cambridge was released—won't face charges in the woman's death.
The Crown Prosecution Service announced that investigators found no evidence to support a potential manslaughter charge.
The hosts of Sydney's 2Day FM Hot 30 Countdown ended up making headlines on Dec. 5 after posting an audio recording of their ruse in the days after Middleton was admitted to King Edward VII Hospital for acute morning sickness.
Unfortunately, the joke backfired and the duo apologized, but by then the damage had been done: 46-year-old Jacintha Saldanha, one of the nurses whom they spoke with while posing as Queen Elizabeth II and who passed their call to a colleague who revealed Kate's condition, tragically hanged herself two days later.
An anguished Christian and Greig subsequently took a leave of absence from their jobs, and the station's owner, Southern Cross Austereo, quietly canceled Hot 30 for good last weekend, though not before noting that the DJs were still gainfully employed with the company and would resume their radio duties on a new show.
Investigators with CPS confirmed that while there was still some evidence to continue to probe the pair under the Data Protection Act and the Malicious Communications Acts of 1988 and 2003, authorities decided, after much deliberation, that "any potential prosecution would not be in the public interest."
"It is not possible to extradite individuals from Australia in respect of the potential offenses in question. However misguided, the telephone call was intended as a harmless prank," said Malcolm McHaffie, deputy head of CPS' special crime unit, in a statement. "The consequences in this case were very sad. We send our sincere condolences to Jacintha Saldanha's family."
For their part, Christian, 25, and Greig, 30, gave emotionally wrenching interviews to Oz TV shows Today Tonight and A Current Affair shortly after the tragedy, in which they again offered deep apologies to Saldanha's family and said her suicide will forever haunt them.
"There's not a minute that goes by that we don't think about her family and what they must be going through," a tearful Mel told the latter program.