The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders is scheduled to read today the verdict in the case against fugitive former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra of alleged negligence in preventing corruption and irregularities in her government’s rice-pledging scheme.
Although the court has scheduled the verdict reading for 9am, it is expected to be delayed as the judicial panel first has to confer and reach a consensus.
The reading could take hours as the judges would cite accounts and evidence provided by witnesses of both the plaintiff and the defendant before handing down the final ruling.
The personal judgement of each of the nine judges would be published later.
There are three possible outcomes in the case:
Yingluck could be found guilty and sentenced to a year to 10 years in jail, a Bt2,000 to Bt20,000 fine, or both;
Yingluck could be found guilty but sentenced to a suspended jail term;
The former prime minister could be acquitted.
The verdict could be appealed if new evidence or facts are presented, according to the new Constitution.
But there has been debate whether Yingluck would be allowed to appeal an adverse ruling. While the 2017 Constitution allows an appeal, the new law on criminal procedures for political office holders, which would lay out the conditions for an appeal, has not been promulgated.
Yingluck is not expected to show up at court today. If she is sentenced to a jail term, another arrest warrant will be issued for her.