An Australian motivational speaker, best-selling author and media personality has been charged in the drowning death of her 7-month-old daughter, whose body was found in a bathtub, according to reports.
Fiori Giovanni, 35, of Melbourne, who was born in war-torn Eritrea and built a career sharing her life story, faces a charge of child homicide after her baby, Ilen, was found unresponsive on July 18, The Age reported.
Paramedics tried to revive Ilen but she was declared dead at the scene, according to the news outlet.
“The accused at Southbank on 18th July 2020 did kill [the child], a child under the age of 6 years, in circumstances but for the age of [the child] would constitute manslaughter,” according to court documents cited by The Age.
Giovanni decided not to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court this week but her attorney Adrian Lewin said his client’s charge is not due to an intentional act against her baby, news.com.au reported.
Lewin told the court the baby died while she was not being overseen.
“The charge of child homicide relates to an act of alleged criminal negligence on the part of Ms Giovanni,” he said.
Giovanni allegedly left Ilen and another child in the bath unsupervised before her daughter drowned.
The entrepreneur and human rights activist has overcome “the challenge of a pubescent arranged marriage, and as a teenager being mandatorily conscripted into the army and clinging to life in a leaking boat loaded with refugees,” according to her website.
Giovanni’s autobiography, “Defy your Destiny,” describes her journey to Australia and how she became a sought-after commentator.
Five weeks ago, she announced her baby’s death in a post on Instagram, The Age reported.
“It is with our deepest sorry and soul-wrenching heartbreak that we inform you of the death of our beautiful little angel,” she wrote. “A shining star was sent to us to inspire, change and transform our lives in the short 7½ months we have the pleasure of being with her.”
She also addressed the death in a recent video that she posted online.
“I no longer have to imagine the tragedy or the pain that comes from losing something,” she said. “I tragically lost my little girl of 7½ months old a few weeks ago. And no, I am not ready to talk about it yet as it is still incredibly fresh.
She added: “It’s a day-by-day process that I am learning to accept my new reality, learning more about myself in the process and how best I can move forward.”
Giovanni sought to have her name withheld during the court proceeding, but Magistrate Mia Stylianou refused, news.com.au reported..
Her attorney argued that her name should not be published because she has written articles about the African community that generated “hate mail.”
Giovanni, who was granted bail, is scheduled to appear in court again on Nov. 25.
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