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A Hamilton mother has been charged with manslaughter after allegedly poisoning her four-year-old son in 2017.

Investigators say Kane Driscoll dealt with a litany of medical issues throughout his life, but his health was starting to improve before he died.

His mother, 39-year-old Lisa Strickland, appeared in Ontario provincial court in Hamilton on Friday.

The investigation started in September 2017 when police received a call about an unresponsive child. Emergency crews got there and found the boy "obviously deceased." The police major crime unit automatically investigates the death of any child under five years old, so they started examining the scene.

At the time, officers found no signs of foul play, and the boy's parents were co-operating with investigators.

In a news release, police said Kane was born with several medical issues that resulted in major operations and months in hospital.

"He seemed to be out of the worst of it. "He was to continue seeing doctors, but as far as his life expectancy, he was expected to live a fairly normal life."

A post-mortem found no anatomical causes of death, but toxicology tests were ordered. Police said they were told in December 2017 that those tests found a lethal dose of a "prescribed narcotic" in the child's system. Thom would not specify what the drug was or if it was prescribed to either of his parents.

"There's no reason that child should have the narcotic that had the fatal dose in it. It should not have been in his system," Thom said.

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