An Australian author accused of killing her baby daughter who drowned in a bathtub has today walked free from court.
Fiori Giovanni, 36, was charged with child homicide after her seven-month-old daughter Illen died in July last year.
The woman was accused of negligence amounting to manslaughter after allegedly leaving the baby unsupervised in the bath with the girl’s older brother.
In May this year, the author pleaded not guilty to the charge and was ordered to stand trial in court.
Today, the charges were dropped at a brief hearing in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
Prosecutors said they discontinued the charge but did not explain the reason behind their decision.
Judicial registrar Tim Freeman said: “Ms Giovanni you are therefore discharged from your undertaking of bail in respect of this matter and that otherwise concludes proceedings before this court.”
Ms Giovanni replied: “Thank you, Your Honour.”
News.com.au reports that after the decision, a spokeswoman from the Office of Public Prosecutions said: “After careful consideration and consultation with the chief crown prosecutor and a senior crown prosecutor, the director determined to discontinue the proceedings. It is inappropriate to comment further.”
Baby Illen was found unconscious at the family’s Southbank home in Melbourne at 7.20am on July 18, 2020.
Police alleged Ms Giovanni left her daughter and two-year-old son in a bath unattended before finding the baby underwater.
It was alleged the infant was unresponsive when her mother came back.
Paramedics tried to resuscitate Illen but she died at the scene.
Court documents stated: “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.”
Last year, Ms Giovanni paid tribute to her daughter on Instagram, writing: “It is with our deepest sorry and soul-wrenching heartbreak that we inform you of the death of our beautiful little angel.
“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.”
According to the author’s website, Giovanni 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 Sudan in search for a better life.
Giovanni set up “My Mind Valley”, described on her website as “an online product hub for those seeking fulfilment, confidence and clarity through affirmations”.