Australian DJs, Mel Grieg and Michael Christian should be
considered murderers. They are the pranksters who called the King Edward VII
hospital, impersonating the Queen and Prince Charles, seeking private
information, on the health of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate. The nurse,
Jacintha Saldanha, who first took that call and put it through, has been found
dead. The implication is, of course, that she committed suicide, although no
details have yet been released.
I realize that the law is silent on this kind of situation.
I view it in moral terms. Mel Grieg and Michael Christian, committed an immoral
act – that of impersonating the Queen and Prince Charles, to gain
access to private information about a public figure and member of the Royal
household. That is clearly wrong in so many ways. They knew this when they
planned it and carried it out. They saw this as a “joke”, something to be
laughed at – but it has had the consequence of the death of a well-regarded nurse.
Since the nurse’s death is a direct consequence of their actions, I feel they
should be charged with some variety of murder, however such things are framed
in Australian law. They should pay for their moral crime, with a real prison
sentence – anything less would, itself, be immoral, for it would say that it is
OK to shame someone to death – which is what they did to this nurse.
Mel Grieg and Michael Christian acted without forethought as
to the consequences of their act – but nevertheless, they should have to pay
for those consequences.
Were it my decision to make, I would have Mel Grieg and
Michael Christian charged with murder, or manslaughter and prosecuted.
I expect, however, that they will get away with a period of
public shame (ironically) followed by a resumption of their show (which has
been taken off the air, at present). As for that – it is clear that they should
never be allowed to be on air, again – for being a broadcaster of any kind is a
responsibility they are not fit for.
I would also welcome a civil case for damages from Jacintha
Saldanha’s family against Mel Grieg and Michael Christian. Perhaps while
mulling their loss of personal fortune, along with personal freedom, behind
bars, Grieg and Christian (whose behaviour wasn’t very Christian at all), might
come to understand the reasons why moral conduct is considered preferable and
how much harm immoral conduct can do.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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Labels: death by shame, DJ Mel Grieg, DJ Michael Christian, impersonation, Jacintha Saldanha, murderer, Prince Charles, suicide, the consequences of immorality, the price of a joke, The Queen, thoughtless stupidity