Jurors in the trial of the Hillsborough match commander have been told to be "cold, calm and dispassionate" when they consider their verdict.
As he began summing up in David Duckenfield's case, judge Sir Peter Openshaw said the deaths were "a profound human tragedy".
But he told the Preston Crown Court jury to "put aside your emotions".
Mr Duckenfield, 75, denies the gross negligence manslaughter of 95 Liverpool fans, who died at the ground in 1989.
Because of the law at the time, there can be no prosecution for the death of 96th victim Tony Bland, who died more than a year and a day after his injuries were caused.
"The deaths of 96 spectators, many of whom were very young, is, of course, a profound human tragedy attended by much anguish and anger which for many has not passed with time," Sir Peter said.
"But, as both counsel have advised you and I will now direct you, as you go about your duty you must put aside your emotions and sympathies, either for the bereaved families or indeed for Mr Duckenfield, and decide the case with a cold, calm and dispassionate review of the evidence that you have heard in court."
He said there had been a "huge amount" of publicity about the Hillsborough disaster but anything the jury had heard, read or seen before the trial was irrelevant.
He told the jury football matches had a "very different atmosphere" in the 1980s because of "hooligan elements" within clubs.
Sir Peter said: "The resulting threat of football violence was such that separating fans and keeping them apart was a vital part of policing at football matches [at the time]."
The trial continues.