Mother accused of killing her baby daughter who allegedly drowned in a bathtub in front of her older brother walks free from court
- Melbourne mother and self-help author have charges of killing baby dropped
- Fiori Giovanni accused of negligence after leaving baby unsupervised in bath
- Seven-month-old was found unresponsive at Southbank home on July 18, 2020
- Her two-year-old son Odis was also in the bath during the suspected drowning
- Charges against Ms Giovanni were dropped during hearing on Tuesday
A Melbourne mother and motivational speaker accused of killing her seven-month-old baby girl has had her child homicide charge dropped.
Fiori Giovanni was charged after the death of baby Illen Bellinger, who drowned in a bathtub at her Southbank home in July last year.
Ms Giovanni was accused of negligence amounting to manslaughter after allegedly having left the baby unsupervised in the bath with the girl’s older brother.
Fiori Giovanni (pictured) was charged after the death of baby Illen Bellinger, who drowned in a bathtub at her Southbank home in July last year but had the charges dropped on Tuesday
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But in a preliminary hearing on Tuesday the charge was withdrawn at the request Victoria’s top prosecutor, Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC.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, drawn up last Wednesday, had been filed with the court on Monday.
Ms Giovanni had been on bail and is now free.
The speaker and author was born in the African nation of Eritrea and sought asylum in Europe before moving to Melbourne.
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 saw her charges dropped in hearing on Tuesday
In her autobiography, Defy Your Destiny, Ms Giovanni detailed her childhood in the war-torn country including her experiences as a child soldier, in an arranged marriage and as a refugee.
Ms Giovanni shared news of her little girl’s death on social media.
‘It is with our deepest sorrow and soul-wrenching heartbreak that we inform you of the death of our beautiful little angel Illen Joy Bellinger,’ she wrote last year.
‘A shining star was sent to inspire, change, and transform our lives in the short seven-and-a-half months we had the pleasure of being with her.’
In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Office of Public Prosecutions said the decision had been made after ‘careful consideration and consultation’ with chief crown prosecutor Brendan Kissane QC and a senior crown prosecutor.
Ms Giovanni’s autobiography Defy your Destiny talks about the challenges she overcame to arrive in Australia and how she was able to become an entrepreneur.
She was born in Eritrea and was 12 years old when she convinced her parents to let her escape an arranged marriage to a 25-year-old man.
At the age of 14 she started a summer camp which she later realised was preparation for mandatory army service.
She later fled to neighbouring Sudan in search of a better life.
Giovanni set up ‘My Mind Valley’ which is an affirmation program designed around her ‘unrelenting belief that people can change their world by changing the way they speak to themselves.’