Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Monday that postponement of the court-verdict reading in the case against former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra could affect how the defendant approaches an appeal once the new law governing criminal procedures against holders of political office receives royal assent.
If the law was promulgated before the verdict was read, the defendant in this case must appeal before the court to make an appeal, while there would be no statute of limitations regarding the case.
Under current criminal law, a court is given the freedom to prolong reading the verdict in the event that a defendant is absent. An arrest warrant would be issued and a deadline set for finding and returning the defendant. The court would then decide whether or not it would read the verdict in absentia.
This is because the law stipulates that an opportunity must first be made to ensure the court reads the verdict before a defendant, Abhisit said. This suggests the court could read, or choose not to read, the verdict against Yingluck on the September 27 date previously announced by the judges.
However, if the court read the verdict and sentenced her to time in jail, it is likely that Yingluck would not give herself up. An appeal would also not guarantee a victory and her freedom.
Abhisit said these scenarios make it unlikely that Yingluck would show up at the court on September 27 to hear the verdict in charges that she was derelict in her duty to ensure proper procedures were followed in relation to her government’s rice pledging scheme.