An Australian motivational speaker, business coach, and author has been charged in the alleged drowning death of her 7-month-old daughter. Fiori Giovanni was booked on a child homicide charge after her baby daughter, Ilen, died suddenly on July 18, reported The Age.
The police said they found the girl unresponsive when they were called to the apartment on the morning of July 18. Court documents revealed that the charge would have been manslaughter if not for the child’s age.
According to The Age, the 35-year-old speaker did not want to appear in the Melbourne court last week, and her lawyer Adrian Lewin told the court that his clients' charges “were not because of an intentional act against her baby," and that baby Ilen died in the bath 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,” the lawyer said.
Officials believe Giovanni left two children — one of whom was Ilen — in an unsupervised bathtub, which is where the girl drowned. It remains unknown how long the baby was allegedly left unsupervised before Giovanni returned to the bathroom to find her underwater.
Two years ago, during an interview on the television talk show, African Australian, Giovanni spoke about being born in war-torn Eritrea, a small country in northeast Africa. She talked about how her father arranged for her to marry by age 12 and by age 14, she was recruited in the army and taught how to fight, shoot and kill. She spoke about her remarkable escape from her homeland to Sudan that she did on a bicycle at only 15, leaving friends and family behind.
Giovanni’s website shares her traumatic life experiences and the insurmountable obstacles she faced. As a business coach,she offers lessons of courage and resilience, and promotes herself as a “highly sought after keynote speaker and respected business and executive coach.”
Before she had been charged with child homicide, Giovanni sent out a video on social media featured on news.com.au sharing her grief. She compared the pain and struggles she endured in a war-torn country as a pain she had never experienced before.
“I tragically lost my little girl,” she said. “Losing a child takes a piece of you and I don’t think you ever get it back. It is something I have never felt before.”
She added, “I am not ready to talk about it yet, as it is incredibly fresh,” and said, “We are still trying to go through it as a family.”
Giovanni has been granted bail and her next court date is scheduled for Nov. 25, The Age reported.