Vic mum's charge over baby death dropped

·2-min read

A Melbourne mother and motivational speaker accused of killing her seven-month-old baby girl has had her child homicide charge dropped.

Fiori Giovanni was charged after the death of baby Illen Bellinger, who drowned in a bathtub at her Southbank home in July last year.

Ms Giovanni was accused of negligence amounting to manslaughter after allegedly having left the baby unsupervised in the bath with the girl's older brother.

The 36-year-old had pleaded not guilty to the charge in May this year and was ordered to stand trial in Victoria's Supreme Court.

But in a preliminary hearing on Tuesday the charge was withdrawn at the request Victoria's top prosecutor, Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd QC.

No details were given in a brief court appearance except that a notice of discontinuance, drawn up last Wednesday, had been filed with the court on Monday.

Ms Giovanni had been on bail and is now free.

The speaker and author was born in the African nation of Eritrea and sought asylum in Europe before moving to Melbourne.

In her autobiography, Defy Your Destiny, Ms Giovanni detailed her childhood in the war-torn country including her experiences as a child soldier, in an arranged marriage and as a refugee.

Ms Giovanni shared news of her little girl's death on social media.

"It is with our deepest sorrow and soul-wrenching heartbreak that we inform you of the death of our beautiful little angel Illen Joy Bellinger," she wrote last year.

"A shining star was sent to inspire, change, and transform our lives in the short seven-and-a-half months we had the pleasure of being with her."

In a statement, a spokeswoman for the Office of Public Prosecutions said the decision had been made after "careful consideration and consultation" with chief crown prosecutor Brendan Kissane QC and a senior crown prosecutor.

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