Australia

Business coach charged with baby homicide

A Melbourne author, business coach and keynote speaker has been charged with child homicide over the death of her seven-month-old girl. Fiori Giovanni chose not to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday but her lawyer Adrian Lewin said the charges were not because of an intentional act against her baby, Ilen.Ilen died in the…

A Melbourne author, business coach and keynote speaker has been charged with child homicide over the death of her seven-month-old girl.

Fiori Giovanni chose not to appear in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Wednesday but her lawyer Adrian Lewin said the charges were not because of an intentional act against her baby, Ilen.

Ilen died in the bath while she was not being overseen, he told the court.

“The charge of child homicide relates to an act of alleged criminal negligence on the part of Ms Giovanni,” the lawyer said.

Police say they found the girl unresponsive when they were called to the apartment on the morning of July 18.

The charge would have been manslaughter if not for the child’s age, police documents say.

Ms Giovanni’s personal website says she was almost forced into an arranged marriage as a teenager in Eritrea, in northeast Africa.

It says she was conscripted into the army while still a teenager before escaping to Australia as a refugee at the age of 15.

She has “decoded” her harrowing life experiences into lessons on resilience and overcoming problems, it says.

In a video uploaded to her social media, the mum spoke of her grief after her baby died, but before she had been charged with child homicide.

“I tragically lost my little girl,” she said.

“No, I am not ready to talk about it yet, as it is still incredibly fresh.

“We are still trying to go through it as a family.”

The 35-year-old attempted to have her name suppressed because of her profile but was refused by magistrate Mia Stylianou on Wednesday.

Her lawyer argued Ms Giovanni’s name should not be published because she had written articles about the African community in the past that had resulted in “hate mail”.

She is known for speaking opposing the stereotyping of the African community as “criminals”, he said.

“There are elements in the community that have an inherent dislike for the views that she has espoused,” he said.

He argued that some people who already didn’t like her could be “inflamed” by the “emotive” homicide charge and threaten her safety.

But the magistrate did not accept there was enough evidence Ms Giovanni’s previous media output would result in danger.

“I am not satisfied that an order is necessary to protect the safety of any person,” she said.

Ms Giovanni has been granted bail and will next appear in November.

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