Whether you are a stranded speluncean explorer or a shipwrecked sailor adrift and starving, the law applies to you. Even where you enter into a contract agreeing that the ordinary law will not apply, you can only do that if some law allows you to, and even then the law requires you to stick to what you have argeed.
Can the law embrace illegality?
Are there times when a sensible person, when told what the law requires, can be permitted to say, "Oh, don't be silly, the law's an ass"?
Can jurors be permitted to return verdicts of not guilty that are contrary to law? These are variously called perverse verdicts, conscience verdicts, merciful verdicts, or instances of jury lenity reflecting the jury's innate sense of justice. See the discussion here on 15 November 2013.
In very limited circumstances the law will recognise that jurors may return conscience verdicts: B(SC12/2013) v R  NZSC 151 (19 December 2013). Here, on an appeal against conviction, the relevant issue was whether two verdicts were inconsistent. The focus in such appeals is on whether the conviction is lawful, not on the acquittal , but the acquittal is relevant to the extent that it reveals an irreconcilable error in the conviction. Opinions may differ, as they did here, on whether the acquittal could be explained logically without impugning the reasoning behind the conviction. But without a logical explanation for the inconsistency it might be possible, held the majority, to account for the acquittal as an instance of jury lenity, without impugning the conviction.
Elias CJ did not consider that this case was one of necessary inconsistency in verdicts . There may have been a reasonable possibility, she held, that the prosecutor had not excluded an innocent belief in relation to that charge, while proving all the elements of the other. But she went further than that, and refused to accept that a jury may return a "lenient" verdict :
The majority disagreed. McGrath, Glazebrook and Arnold JJ :
They held that while the difference in verdicts could have a logical explanation, this was also one of those rare cases where the jury might have thought that the conviction sufficiently captured the defendant's culpability for what was in substance a single interaction with the complainant .
William Young J said he agreed with the joint judgment , .
The reasoning which led the majority to accept that jury leniency can have legal effect occurs at , which is worth quoting in full:
But there's more in this case: propensity, reputation, prior sexual experience! ... Later ...