Direction to acquit

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A trial judge may 'direct the jury to acquit' on a matter of law. For example, if the prosecution has not satsifed the evidential burden (see: Evidential burden), the jury is unnecessary. It is not the jury's job to rule on points of law, but on points of fact. If there are not enough facts, the jury cannot make a decision even if it accepted the prosecution's case without reservation. This archaic process of 'direction to acquit' stems from the fact that, technically, the defendant is in the charge of the jury, not the court.

Criminal Law