Mother accused of killing daughter who allegedly drowned in bathtub in front of older brother walks free from court
- Melbourne mother and self-help author drop charges for dead baby
- Fiori Giovanni charged with negligence after leaving baby unattended in bath
- Seven months old was found unresponsive at Southbank’s home on July 18, 2020
- Her two-year-old son Odis was also in the bath during the suspected drowning
- The charges against Ms Giovanni were dropped during the hearing on Tuesday
A Melbourne mother and motivational speaker accused of murdering her seven-month-old baby has dropped the infanticide charge.
Fiori Giovanni was charged after the death of baby Illen Bellinger, who drowned in a bathtub at her Southbank home last July.
Giovanni was charged with negligence amounting to manslaughter after leaving the baby unattended 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 the charges were dropped on Tuesday
The 36-year-old had pleaded innocent to the charges in May this year and was facing trial in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
But at a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, the charges were dropped at the request of Victoria’s Supreme Prosecutor, Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC.
During a brief court hearing, no details were given, except that a notice of termination, drawn up last Wednesday, was submitted to the court on Monday.
Mrs. Giovanni had been released on bail and is now free.
The speaker and author was born in African Eritrea and sought asylum in Europe before moving to Melbourne.
The 36-year-old had pleaded innocent to the charges in May this year and was ordered to stand trial in the Victoria Supreme Court, but saw her charges dropped at Tuesday’s hearing.
In her autobiography, Defy Your Destiny, Ms. Giovanni describes her childhood in the war-torn country, including her experiences as a child soldier, in an arranged marriage, and as a refugee.
Giovanni shared the news of her daughter’s death on social media.
“It is with our deepest sorrow and heartbreaking heartbreak that we inform you of the passing of our beautiful angel Illen Joy Bellinger,” she wrote last year.
“A shining star has been 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 prosecution said the decision was made after “careful consideration and consultation” with Chief 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 became an entrepreneur.
Born in Eritrea, she was 12 years old when she persuaded her parents to let her escape an arranged marriage to a 25-year-old man.
At age 14, she started a summer camp that she later realized was preparation for compulsory military service.
She later fled to neighboring Sudan in search of a better life.
Giovanni created ‘My Mind Valley’, an affirmation program designed around her ‘relentless belief that people can change their world by changing the way they talk to themselves’.