The legal system is difficult to fathom in Thailand. There is the basic tenet that punishments on the rich should be severely limited, with serious jail time evaded.
The current political cases involving the senators and the prime minister have curious punishments. Senators that have abrogated their responsibilities, particularly through reasons of political bias, should spend their lives doing something else, preferably atoning for their misdemeanours by educating young people on taking the right path. Five years “out of politics” means nothing at all.
The PM’s projected punishment is the loss of her political post (which many believe she never held) for not carrying out its duties efficiently. Any punishment will let loose the unstable red shirts. A signed admission of what really happened would be suitable punishment and an admirable act that would justify amnesty. She would not serve a term in prison, as it would either be suspended or Yingluck would go to the World Cup in Brazil and forget to come back. A Bt20,000 fine is party commission on a few tonnes of rice.