11/05/2012 12:05 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 18:58 EST

Halifax sleepwatching trial begins with DNA evidence

The trial of a Dartmouth man charged with voyeurism and breaking into a series of houses in Halifax's south end began Monday with police officers presenting DNA evidence.

Barry Sinclair, 50, is charged with five counts of voyeurism and two counts of breaking and entering in several incidents dating back to Aug. 31, 2005.

He's being tried before a judge alone in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, in a trial that is expected to last five days.

Sinclair's breaking and entering charges and two of the voyeurism charges are from alleged incidents on Sept. 15, 2011 at Shirley and South streets.

The remaining voyeurism charges are for alleged incidents at undisclosed addresses in Halifax between:

- Aug. 31, 2005 and June 1, 2008.

- Aug. 31, 2007 and Apr. 30, 2008.

- Aug. 31, 2008 and June 1, 2011.

Halifax Regional Police Det. Sandy Johnston, a forensic identification specialist, was the first to take the stand. Johnston recalled the Sept. 15, 2011 break-in where she took pictures, prints and DNA swabs.

Johnston testified one of the break-ins happened in the basement apartment of a home on South Street.

She told the court she found fingerprints on the door and a palm smudge on the window but it was not detailed enough to make a positive identification.

Johnston said she believed the suspect entered the house through an unlocked rear door and also took DNA swabs from multiple doorknobs in the building.

While the swabs were sent for testing, Johnston said there were multiple DNA samples on the bedroom door and there was not enough to generate a complete profile.

Det. Const. Andre Habib was second to take the stand. Habib testified about a second incident. He saw distinct finger swipes on a dirty window on Shirley Street, which he believed was the point of entry into that house.

Habib said he saw swipes on the inside blinds that indicated it was handled from the outside. No identifiable fingerprints were found, he told the court.

Habib described Sinclair in September 2011 as a man in great physical shape, weighing about 165 or 170 pounds. He identified Sinclair in court on Monday and said he is bigger, fuller and his hair is grown out.

Sinclair arrested in September 2011

Sinclair has been in custody since he was arrested in September 2011. He was denied bail in May.

At the time of his arrest, a woman who lived on Shirley Street told CBC News a man had crept into her home early on Sept. 15 and was discovered by her roommate.

That same day, less than two hours later, a man was chased out of a South Street bedroom by a young woman's screams.

Their stories were similar to those of more than a dozen young women in Halifax's south end, who in recent years have reported waking up to find a stranger watching or touching them. The suspect became known as the sleep watcher.