Author accused of killing baby daughter who drowned when she was left alone in bath walks free from court

Author accused of killing baby daughter who drowned when she was left alone in bath walks free from court

September 14, 2021

A SELF-HELP author accused of killing her seven-month old daughter who drowned in the bath has today walked free from court.

Fiori Giovanni, 35, a business coach and speaker, had faced one count of child homicide after baby Illen was found unconscious at the family home in Melbourne, Australia — but charges have now been dropped.

Ms Giovanni was accused of negligence amounting to manslaughter after allegedly leaving the baby unsupervised in the bath with the girl's older brother.

The 36-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the charge in May this year and was ordered to stand trial in Victoria's Supreme Court. 

But in a preliminary hearing the charge was withdrawn at the request Victoria's top prosecutor, Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC. 

No details were given in a brief court appearance except that a notice of discontinuance.

Baby Illen was reportedly first discovered unconscious at 7.20am on July 18.

Police said she was unresponsive when they attended the home that morning.

In a message posted to social media following Illen's death and before she was charged, Giovanni paid tribute to her "beautiful little angel".

"A shining star was sent to us to inspire, change, and transform our lives in the short 7 and half months we had the pleasure of being with her," she said.

"And the light she has sparked in us can never be put out.

"We are currently not taking calls for we need this time to heal and process and be there for our beautiful son Odis but we've decided to have her cremated so that she can always be here with us."

Giovanni chose not to appear at Melbourne Magistrates Court today, but her lawyer told the court that Illen had drowned in the bathtub while not being supervised.

He also said the charges against his client weren't allegations of any intentional act of harm.

The light she has sparked in us can never be put out

“The charge of child homicide relates to an act of alleged criminal negligence on the part of Ms Giovanni,” he said.

A funeral service for Illen was held for friends and family over Zoom amid restrictions on large gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Giovanni is the best-selling author of more than 30 books and regularly appears as a television panelist or corporate speaker in Australia.

She arrived in Australia as a refugee aged just 15.

Her autobiography, Defy your Destiny, describes how, aged just 12, she escaped an arranged marriage in her native Eritrea.

She initially sought to have her name concealed because of her public profile, but the request was denied by a judge.

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