BY ADEYEMI OSHUNRINADE
Gutted, Saddened and heartbroken were the words used by the DJs at the center of the royal nurse suicide to describe their feelings, since learning of her death. Mel Greig shed tears as she described her shock on realizing the call she and Michael Christian placed had led to the suicide of Jacintha Saldanha. When asked about her reaction on learning about the suicide, she was sober as she explained that the first question she asked was to know if Ms. Saldanha was a mother. She could not express how she felt when she later realized Ms. Saldanha was a mother of two.
Asked what his reaction had been when told about the suicide, Mr. Christian wept and said: “Shattered, gutted, heartbroken and obviously you know. Our deepest sympathies are with the family and the friends.” When asked same question, Ms. Greig said: “There is not a minute that goes where we don’t think about her family and what they must be going through, and the thought that we may have played a part in that is gut-wrenching.”
In an interview with Channel Nine aired on BBC, they were remorseful and expressed their deepest sorrow over the unexpected turn of events. Better to describe both DJs as two individuals who have realized the pain they caused. Ms. Greig acknowledged the call was a “silly” idea which they never thought could lead to such an unfortunate end. According to her, they never expected to speak to the Pregnant Duchess of Cambridge let alone have a conversation with anyone at the hospital, when both placed a call pretending to be Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles.
While it is difficult for any right minded person to condone what the DJs have done, it is clear no malice was involved in what took place, but rather, a stupid prank gone badly. No doubt both have conducted themselves in a manner that violates human decency and deserving of public outrage, it may be right however, to tone down the threats and abuse both have received so far. After all, threats will not bring the result and answer the public demand to address the issue of media misconduct and violation of journalistic ethics.
This is not to say both don’t deserve the harsh critique and public disgust for the outrageous behavior. However, it is proper to get to the bottom of it all. There was no intent to cause Ms. Saldanha to commit suicide. Though, Ms. Saldanha had answered their call, believing they were members of the Royal family, the fact that she decided to put the call through to the nurse who described the Duchess of Cambridge’s condition, could not by itself have made her take her own life. The suicide itself is so unforeseeable and remote that it is almost far from reality. What really happened ‘after the fact’ needs to be thoroughly investigated. What role did the hospital play and what reaction did Ms. Saldanha get from her job after the news broke?
It is incontestable Ms. Saldanha did not deserve to die over such a hoax and to say she is not the victim here would be inhuman. In fact, her family deserves every support, financially and mentally they can get from the public at this time. She was a mother of two and a wife, who had a lot to live for, but had her life cut short unexpectedly over what could only be described as odious. Nonetheless, the path to finding the truth must be carefully treaded, keeping in mind the innate fragility we all possess as human beings. While both DJs deserve to be chastised, it must be done with care to prevent another catastrophe.
Dr. Adeyemi Oshunrinade [E. JD] is the author of ‘Wills Law and Contests,’ ‘Constitutional Law-First Amendment,’ ‘Murder of Diplomacy’ and ‘SAVING LOVE’ a fiction. Follow on Twitter @san0670.