Jul. 6, 2004. 01:00 AM

Curfew for mom who faked her own assault

Feared ex-husband would hurt their son


A former beauty queen who faked her own abduction and assault in what a Brampton court heard was a desperate bid to protect her child from a violent ex-husband has been sentenced to one year's probation and 60 days home curfew.

Kalista Zackhariyas, 24, of Mississauga, a former Miss Vaughan who was stripped of her title last year and prevented from entering the Miss Canada International pageant when organizers found out she was a single parent, was sentenced yesterday by Madame Justice Kathryn McLeod.

She had pleaded guilty earlier to a charge of public mischief in relation to the Sept. 1, 2003 incident outside a Mississauga mall. Police responding to a 911 call found her bleeding from a cut lip, her wrists and ankles bound with duct tape.

Zackhariyas initially said she had been abducted at gunpoint from her vehicle and assaulted by an armed man who then took her to the rear of the plaza, at Britannia Rd. and Churchill Meadows Blvd., where a second man was waiting.

At least a dozen officers, with a tracking dog, investigated.

Crown prosecutor Steve Laufer had requested six to nine months of home confinement and an order for Zackhariyas to compensate police $4,500 for the unnecessary investigation, but McLeod disagreed. Under the curfew, Zackhariyas must be at home from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

In sentencing, McLeod cited the fact Zackhariyas had pleaded guilty early in the process and was a "young and committed mother" who is "bright and ambitious." She noted Zackhariyas was placed in foster care at 14 because her mother was abusing her. She was married at 19.

Zackhariyas, who has worked as an actress, model and bank manager, runs her own marketing business and is trying to develop her own cosmetics line, court heard.

She confessed to police that she staged the incident because she feared for her son's safety and hoped her ex-husband would be jailed.

The judge read into the record that her former husband, who was not identified in court, was convicted of assault causing bodily harm for kicking and punching her in the stomach when she was 8 1/2 months pregnant at age 19.

Zackhariyas told court she panicked because her ex-spouse had threatened to kill their son or not bring him home again. "I did commit a crime, but I'm not a criminal," she said. "I'm ashamed of what I did, but not my reason for it."

Outside court, Zackhariyas praised the judge but said overall the legal system failed her as it fails other abused women and children. "For one and a half years I got beaten almost on a daily basis. For four years I spent $80,000 on legal fees for restraining orders and called police many times."

Three weeks before the bogus crime report, a court application relating to the boy's custody had been thrown out because it was filed to the wrong court, which panicked her, she said.

Zackhariyas said she has received feelers from an undisclosed TV talk show and is negotiating over a movie script she has written about her ordeal.