Day 1 - Weird Cases - The Matrix


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Day 1 - Weird Cases - The Matrix

  1. 1. WEIRD CASESIn the film The Matrix, Keanu Reeves plays a character who moves in and out of the realworld. He might have thought he was having a similar experience recently while defending alegal action in Canada. He was sued by Karen Sala, a woman he said he’d never met butwho claimed that he had disguised himself as her husband and, over 25 years, fathered herfour children.Representing herself in a paternity action brought in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice, Salasought C$3 million a month in spousal support payments for her four adult children andC$150,000 a month in child support backdated to 1988. She claimed that she had knownReeves since she was a child. She said “I do know for a fact that he is the biological father”.Her children were conceived, she argued, after Reeves used sophisticated disguises in orderto make her think she was making love to her husband.The reason for the delay in bringing the paternity suit, Sala contended, was that although shehad had a sexual relationship with Reeves during and after her marriage, she hadn’t realiseduntil recently that Reeves had sometimes impersonated her husband. Additionally, she hadn’trealised her lover was ‘Reeves the film star’ because she knew him as ‘Marty Spencer’.It isn’t unprecedented for someone in a court case to claim they had sex with one personthinking it was someone else. In a 1971 case from Colchester, England a woman had invitedinto her bed a young man who appeared on her outside windowsill one night. Seeing himcrouched there in silhouette in an aroused state, she thought it was her boyfriend but onlydiscovered during sex that it was someone else. The young man was later acquitted ofcriminal conduct. That, though, was a ten minute relationship. It’s more unusual to make amistake about a sexual partner’s identity for 25 years.In her affidavit, Sala said that Reeves helped her to move house, told her he would take herto the Academy Awards and said that he’d marry her. She testified that she still sees him inher local Macdonald’s and in the No Frills grocery store. Conversely, Reeves argued that onplanet earth he had never met Karen Sala. He agreed to DNA testing but when the resultscame back proving that Sala’s children were not his, Sala told the court that the results werefake and that Reeves had used his powers of hypnosis to get someone to falsify the results.As ‘Neo’ in The Matrix, Reeves spoke of “a world where anything is possible”. Was he thereagain?Reeves probably perceived the final moments of the case in slow-motion as Judge FredGraham banged a gavel and brought everyone back to reality. The judge ruled that Sala’sevidence was so incredible that “it is not capable of acceptance by any reasonable trier offact”. He dismissed the case and ordered Sala to pay $15,000 towards the costs of MrReeves.Gary Slapper’s new book Weird Cases is published by Wildy, Simmonds & Hill.These articles were published by The Times Online as part of the weekly column written byGary Slapper