They cannot see the things that will hurt them. I’ve spared them that.
Dr. Robert Ford to Theresa Cullen, Westworld (TV Series, 2016-)
Westworld is a hedonistic amusement park for adults. The park is populated by androids (hosts) that believe they are human. The hosts are programmed with cognitive blind spots so they cannot perceive or process information that may lead them to appreciate their true nature.
The hosts’ artificial intelligence mimics our own psychology. The human mind protects itself from emotional discomfort. We recoil from information that challenges our sense of self and the narratives we have constructed about our lives.
In the context of a criminal charge, denial may manifest itself acutely when reviewing the case for the prosecution with a client.
Counsel should appreciate that it may be uncomfortable and troubling for a client to analyze the disclosure materials. The implications may be difficult, or even impossible, without further intervention, for a client to process.
Regardless, defence counsel must thoroughly review the anticipated evidence and provide a frank and objective assessment with respect to the available options. Effective advocacy means confronting, not turning a blind eye to, the case for the prosecution, while being sensitive to the emotionally charged nature of the task.