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August 16, 2011

Former kidnapper admitted to bar

CANADA - Its sounds like a plot out of a CSI episode.

A Toronto man convicted of kidnapping a Hamilton woman years ago and holding her captive has been granted admission to the bar by the Law Society of Upper Canada. On August 9th a law society panel approved Alan Honner’s licence application, writing the lawyer “is now of good character.”

Alan Honner, age 30, pleaded guilty to charges of kidnapping and forcible confinement after helping a family accost and abduct their daughter, Mirella Brun Del Re, from a Hamilton street in 2005. They believed Mirella was in a religious cult and were worried she might be involved in a mass suicide.

The panel granted Honner admission to the bar because of his candour about his past as a kidnapper. But you have to admit the kidnapping was not normal circumstances. It wasn't for ransom or sexual assault. The Brun Del Re family was convinced their daughter was in danger and she wasn't listening to reason.

Mirella Brun Del Re, then 21, was held against her will for 10 days in a rented cottage in the Halton region before being transferred to her parents’ home, where an American woman tried to “deprogram” her from the cult. But Mirella Brun Del Re escaped and called police. (It is unclear whether Mirella Brun Del Re really was in a cult, or just a religious group that was a tad weird.)

Kidnapping and forcible confinement charges against Mirella Brun Del Re’s parents were later stayed just before the case was to go to trial.

Ontario’s Law Society Act requires only people with “good character” to be licensed to practice law. The law society requires Ontario applicants to complete 14 questions and offer two references from the legal profession to determine they are of “good character.”

Earlier this year, 29-year-old Ryan Manilla, an Osgoode Hall graduate, had his application rejected because of his aggressive and bizarre conduct as a member of his condo board.

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