Tue, July 6, 2004

Fake kidnap nets curfew
Model tried to frame ex to win custody battle

A DETHRONED beauty queen who staged a fake kidnap plot to incarcerate her ex-husband and retain custody of their child was sentenced to a nightly curfew yesterday. After leading Peel Regional Police on a $4,500 wild goose chase and putting her abusive ex-husband in "jeopardy" of being falsely charged last Sept. 1, Kalista Zackharias was sentenced to increased anger and grief therapy and 60 days of overnight home curfew.


Zackharias, 24, "attempted to take the law into her own hands ... at the expense of another person's liberty," Ontario Court Justice Kathryn McLeod told Brampton court.

Zackharias, who gave a same-day confession and recently pleaded guilty to mischief, will also be on probation for a year.

The model and would-be actress made headlines last June when she lost her Miss Vaughan crown and a crack at the Miss Canada International title because the national competition did not accept mothers.

Within a couple of months of losing her title, Zackharias had beat and tied up herself and told police that two men with a gun had threatened her life.

But Det. Ken Wright elicited a confession within three hours.

Zackharias held back tears yesterday when she told McLeod of her shame.

"I do not justify my actions ... nor would I advise anyone else to do it," she said.

"I am a mother who for almost a year and a half got beaten on an almost daily basis," she said.

Zackharias said she wrongly staged the abduction after four years of court battles and police complaints and $80,000 in lawyers' fees had got her nowhere.

"I did commit a crime, but I'm not a criminal," she said.

McLeod noted that Zackharias' ex-husband was convicted of assault causing bodily harm for beating her while she was pregnant with their son in 1999. She also noted that Zackharias spoke of her fear of him in a restraining order application that was filed in family court only three weeks before she faked her kidnapping.


Prosecutor Steve Laufer had asked for between six and nine months of house arrest and the repayment of $4,550 in police wages and overtime. Defence laywer Terry MacKay had asked for a conditional discharge.

McLeod refused to order Zackharias to repay the wages.

Zackharias said outside court that McLeod was "amazing," but the legal system seriously let her down. She also said she's working on a screenplay about her life.