A former daycare operator accused of poisoning two children once under her care has appeared in a courthouse in Kitchener for a bail hearing, avoiding all eye contact with the families of the alleged victims.
Christine Allen, 32, who faces two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of administering a noxious substance with the intent to harm, arrived in court handcuffed. She wore a dark green hoodie and jogging pants.
Looking pale and tired, Allen buried her face in her hands as lawyers dealt with her case.
The mother of one of the children, who can no longer be identified because of a court-ordered publication ban, is a former friend of Allen's. She said she felt overcome with emotion when Allen entered the courtroom.
"I have three children at home, I need to stay strong. But I needed to see her reactions myself," the mother said.
She said her family is having trouble coping with what happened.
"Just there's a lot of hurt, anger, frustration, that's all. I'm not going to go into details," the mother said.
Craig Perry, Allen's lawyer, wouldn't offer any insight into what his client might be thinking. He said Allen is still waiting to hear what evidence police have against her.
"At this point it's really premature to have any kind of predictions about the case," Perry said. "Right now there's very little by way of evidence available. There's a summary of allegations but not a full Crown brief."
Police accuse Allen of feeding two children tetrahydrozoline, a drug found in over-the-counter eye care products that can cause serious illness if ingested.
Police first started investigating the case in March when a child who was under the care of the suspect was taken to a local hospital. He had suspicious symptoms that included abnormal drowsiness, low blood pressure, respiratory difficulty and decreased heart rate.
It was when police investigated that case further that they uncovered another incident in which a child was poisoned with tetrahydrozoline. This incident occurred in July 2010 while Allen was running an unlicenced daycare, police said.
Allen, who police say also uses the name Christine Keilbar, ran the daycare from a home in the Pioneer Park area of Kitchener from 2009 to 2011, police said.
She'll remain in custody until she appears in court again next month.