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Line of Duty fans are right to believe in Ted. After all they have shared together, why don't Kate and Steve?

PUBLISHED: 10:05 30 April 2019 | UPDATED: 10:02 01 May 2019

Why don't Kate (Vicky McClure) and Steve (Martin Compston) believe Hastings? Haven't they known him long enough? Photo: GRABS

Why don't Kate (Vicky McClure) and Steve (Martin Compston) believe Hastings? Haven't they known him long enough? Photo: GRABS

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The Line of Duty arrest of Ted Hastings, perpetrated by his friends and colleagues Kate Fleming and Steve Arnott, shows how difficult it is to be believed in once the first accusation is thrown, even if you have previously never put a foot wrong, says Liz Nice

Watching Line of Duty on Sunday night, I was struck, yet again, by how the writer Jed Mercurio gets to the heart of human failing.

For those who have missed the BBC TV series everyone is talking about, Superintendent Ted Hastings, beloved arbiter of all things true and good in the series over the past seven years, now finds himself under suspicion of police corruption.

Fans of the show are horrified and pretty confident that he won't turn out to be a baddie – especially as this was the penultimate episode, so what on earth is going to happen next week if Ted is not vindicated?

But a key moment for me on Sunday was when Hastings said, 'My team will back me up, they always do,' only to realise that people he has worked with for years, who have looked up to him and admired him and included him in everything, were the ones who had dobbed him in.

We live in a world where a lifetime of being good and decent can count for nothing in an instant once an accusation is levelled.

The actor Geoffrey Rush has just won a defamation case over allegations by an Australian newspaper of inappropriate behaviour towards an actress but this will likely be little consolation to him after months of people looking at him askew and muttering that there was always something dodgy about him, which appears to be the natural response of the majority to any accusation these days.

As he said, 'There are no winners in this case. It's been extremely distressing for everyone involved.'

Sir Cliff Richard relied on the support of friends in the Kafkaesque horror he endured after the televised police raid on his home which all came to nothing.

He was lucky they stayed with him, given how quickly our past lives and record can be erased by the social media gossip mongers who are the curtain twitchers of today.

Even Harvey Weinstein has not yet been prosecuted, but may as well give up expecting to ever be invited to any event in which a woman is present ever again.

Innocent until proven guilty 
is a nice idea, but we don't seem 
to bother about it much these days.

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Of course this is a complicated issue, and I'll be the first to throw the book at anyone who is tried in court and convicted of being perverted or corrupt. It's my job, after all.

But we can't have a situation where accusation alone is enough – and it concerns me that courts are becoming less and less relevant than the digital court of public opinion, where anyone can be an expert and appear to know what they are talking about, even if they are just an angry person in a lonely bedroom with a computer and an axe to grind.

The latest furore about whether rape victims should be forced to hand over their mobile phones to police or risk their prosecutions not going ahead is another complex matter.

The principle of this is terrifying – implying as it does that victims maybe making it up, which, in an age where fewer than a third of young men tried for rape are convicted, is unlikely to help anyone.

That said, an accusation of rape which is perpetrated out of hurt and betrayal can lead to the ruination of a life.

But most rape victims, of course, aren't making it up – it's far too horrifying to go through the process of reporting a rape if you are only doing it for attention – so on balance, I would say, I'd prefer rape victims not to have to give in their phones, although to feel free to volunteer them if they feel there is anything on there 
that could help validate their claim.

More generally, as is the case with fictional Ted Hastings, it seems to me that we could all be helped if we just believed in people a bit more.

Have they ever done anything to suggest that they are a bare-faced liar? Has their whole life given any suggestion that they are anything other than a decent human being?

If not, believe them unless a court proves otherwise. And if you're the one making the biggest noise about a person, it might be that it is, after all, you who is the one with something to hide.

And finally, congratulations 
to Norwich City on their promotion.

This has been my official line all weekend as Canary friends messaged gleefully with images of the victory at Carrow Road and cries of Premier League!

'Well done,' I said, and indeed, it is.

But I have nothing more to say on the matter. Hubris, in time, will say it all for me, I believe.

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