Date: Thursday, 03 September 2020
A best-selling author charged with the child homicide of her seven-month-old daughter had allegedly left her in the bath with her two-year old brother.
Fiori Giovanni, 35, was charged more than a month after baby Illen was found unconscious on July 18 at the family's Southbank home in Melbourne at 7.20am.
It remains unknown how long the baby was allegedly left unsupervised before Giovanni returned to the bathroom to find her underwater.
Paramedics desperately attempted to resuscitate the infant but she sadly died at the scene.
Giovanni, who lives with her partner Ben Bellinger, had attempted to hide the allegations from the public, claiming she was afraid of repercussions.
Her lawyer, Adrian Lewin, told the Melbourne Magistrates' Court via videolink that his client had previously received hate mail because of her stance against the representation of African crime in the general media.
Giovanni is a bestselling author and humans rights activist with a raft of accolades to her name.
She appears regularly on television as a guest panelist, attends corporate functions as a keynote speaker and has sold more than 30 books.
Her autobiography Defy your Destiny talks about the challenges she overcame to arrive in Australia and how she was able to become an entrepreneur.
Mr Lewin claimed an opinion piece published in the Herald Sun had resulted in hate mail, which he claimed could escalate to further threats if the public knew what she was accused of.
He further claimed reporting of her alleged negligence could prejudice her trial and cause her toddler future pain when he was old enough to read reports on the allegations.
But media lawyers opposing the court gag argued Giovanni had already put it out on social media herself that her child had died and said there was no actual evidence that she had received any real threats over the charge she faces.
They further argued the toddler who had shared the bath with Illen was unlikely to be called as a prosecution witness and would probably read about the case when older anyway.
Magistrate Mia Stylianou agreed and dismissed the application for a suppression order, freeing up the full shocking details to be revealed when the case returns to court in November.
Giovanni did not appear in court for the hearing but is scheduled to appear when the court resumes in November.
After the death of baby Illen, Giovanni had taken to social media to post a moving tribute to her dead child, where she called her 'their beautiful little angel'.
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 neighbouring Sudan in search of a better life.
Giovanni set up 'My Mind Valley' which is an affirmation program designed around her 'unrelenting belief that people can change their world by changing the way they speak to themselves.'