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N.L. judge rejects defence’s directed verdict motion in ‘Sleepwatcher’ case

Barry Sinclair was back in provincial court in St. John’s Friday for the continuation of an “810.2” hearing that will determine whether he will be placed on a recognizance with stringent conditions to restrict his movements and behaviour.
Barry Sinclair

A St. John’s judge has rejected a defence lawyer’s request to render an early not-guilty verdict in the case of a man known as the “Sleepwatcher.”

Judge Mike Madden ruled Friday at provincial court that there wasn’t enough evidence to warrant the directed verdict in the case of Barry Edward Sinclair.

The 55-year-old Sinclair isn’t facing criminal charges, but is the subject of an RNC-filed application that seeks to have him placed on a recognizance under Section 810.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada — a preventative measure meant to restrict the movements and behaviour of an individual who police believe would likely commit a serious crime.

The RNC believes Sinclair, an ex-convict, will commit a “serious personal injury” offence against women, and wants him to adhere to certain conditions as a way of protecting the community.

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After the Crown’s only witness, Const. Stephen Picco, testified during the 810.2 hearing last month, defence lawyer Ellen O’Gorman asked that the judge render his decision before all the evidence was presented. She argued that Sinclair’s most recent offences — a break and enter— was not considered a serious personal injury crime.

Sinclair’s criminal record includes convictions for trespassing at night in 2012, criminal harassment in 2002, being unlawfully in a dwelling in 1992 and a sexual assault conviction in 1987.

His latest conviction was in February 2013, when he was given a five-year jail term, with a year’s credit, for a break and enter with intent conviction in Halifax. While five counts of voyeurism were dismissed, police say the break-in had a “voyeuristic aspect” to it and that he intended to watch a woman.

Crown prosecutor Jennifer Colford had argued that Sinclair’s most recent crime is considered a serious personal injury offence. She said while there was no physical violence involved, one aspect included in an 810.2 application is that the offender would “likely” commit a serious personal injury crime.

Judge Madden agreed, noting a break-in can cause severe psychological damage to the homeowner, and dismissed the defence’s motion for a directed verdict.

The 810.2 hearing will continue April 3.

If the judge agrees to have Sinclair placed on an 810.2 peace bond, he would be subject to strict conditions while he lives in the community.

O’Gorman told The Telegram Friday she doesn’t expect to appeal the directed-verdict decision.

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