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Oh and I believe my case is being dealt by the prosecution office. The letter is signed by the prosecution manager and there are no details or anywhere stating the BTP. So I guess that's one good thing.

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Oh and I believe my case is being dealt by the prosecution office. The letter is signed by the prosecution manager and there are no details or anywhere stating the BTP. So I guess that's one good thing.

 

In practice you are much better off being dealt with by BTP as their evidence gathering is consistently poor , they nearly always issue cautions. The CPS also hate prosecuting low level railway offences and usually it wont get anywhere near a courtroom.

 

The transport operators have depts specifically to deal with railway offences & therefore have the best experience and case law at hand, which makes the already easy to prove offences almost sure things.

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Hi Underground,

 

Can I just ask what may sound like a really stupid question?

 

I dont live in London but travel there a lot, and I have 2 Oyster cards for when I go - one is an unregistered yellow 'visitors' card and the other is a 'proper' blue one. I registered the blue one online as the next time I go to London (next Friday) Im going to have very little time to stand in queues and since my debit cards were cloned at a LU ticket machine last January, it has made buying tickets on the day very difficult as I hate carrying cash!!

I registered and topped up online, the card being registered in my own (obviously female) name. OH and his mate are going to London in August, and obviously there will be no problem with the yellow one. However, if I gave OH my card to use (PAYG) and he was stopped by an inspector, would it come up the card was registered to a Miss? (obv not him ha ha, he's 6ft and built like a brick outhouse :D)

Should I just give him the money to buy another one for himself just ot be on the safe side?

Ta muchly!

Mrs R xx

THE PRETENDER AGENDA - August 30,2008 - 2ND ROW!!! WOO-HOO!! :-)

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A FAB NITE LEE! xx

Sunderland 011008 - THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESSIE EVER! 'Aww, it's your birthday! Happy birthday darlin!'

 

02 Apr 2008, 23:55

OfficialLeeRyan wrote:

i like that!! its simple and good and gets the fans involved aswell x x x

 

MY SUCCESSES -

 

1st Credit (Lloyds TSB) admitted no CCA, reply from OFT 130608, reply from FOS 040608, adjudication stage rejected but still no contact....

 

My mate (Littlewoods/Moorcroft)

300608 -Long running battle,threatening court, CCA letter NO 2 and harrassment letter sent - passed back to Littlewoods early July.

070808 - Passed to Debt Managers, Acct in dispute/BOG OFF letter sent 080808...

140808 - Letter from Debt Managers passing debt back to Littlewoods - RESULT! :D

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In practice you are much better off being dealt with by BTP as their evidence gathering is consistently poor , they nearly always issue cautions. The CPS also hate prosecuting low level railway offences and usually it wont get anywhere near a courtroom.

 

The transport operators have depts specifically to deal with railway offences & therefore have the best experience and case law at hand, which makes the already easy to prove offences almost sure things.

 

I agree!

 

UNDERGROUND :grin:

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Thank you underground

 

One of the reasons as to why I was using someone else's freedom pass was because I couldn't afford to pay for my ticket. I was still waiting for my student loan to come through and had already pretty much maxed my overdraft. I'm afraid I had been using it for a week or so when I was caught. And this was indicated in my court summons, as the inspector had printed off a journey history for the past 12 journeys.

 

The inspector was very good at his job, took down all the details, gave me the caution prior to the interview (details available in the court summons). He tricked me into staying behind. When I was first caught, he was very convincing in informing me that if I were to leave without giving any information, I would most likely end up in court. However if I co-operated and was sincere then I would get a penalty fine as it had been my first offense. Following having agreed, he started taking down the details. I have to admit this made me feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed but I'm not sure whether I can use this as an argument? Is not better if I say I was honest and co-operative rather than felt compelled to stay behind because of what the inspector said?

 

I gave my driving license and in my court summons, I have signed everything so I can't use the pace argument or take back any comments that I made at the time.

 

If the prosecutor is a decent person and takes the above information into consideration, then hopefully they will agree to settling out of court.

 

Appreciate any advice that might help me

 

cheers.

 

Hi

 

All I can say is that you can try writing to prosecutions and pleading your case. You say you couldn't afford to pay for your ticket, is there any way you can prove that by buying travel tickets this would have caused you financial hardship? This could count as a mitigating circumstance.

 

From what you have told me it seems the inspector has done everything correctly and I think TfL will feel in a strong position and would have no problem prosecuting this case should they choose to. I know this isn't really what you want to hear, but unfortunately there is no magic way out of these situations, you can only try to persuade the prosecutions team not to proceed.

 

Please keep me up to date with any progress.

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :grin:

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Hi Underground,

 

Can I just ask what may sound like a really stupid question?

 

I dont live in London but travel there a lot, and I have 2 Oyster cards for when I go - one is an unregistered yellow 'visitors' card and the other is a 'proper' blue one. I registered the blue one online as the next time I go to London (next Friday) Im going to have very little time to stand in queues and since my debit cards were cloned at a LU ticket machine last January, it has made buying tickets on the day very difficult as I hate carrying cash!!

I registered and topped up online, the card being registered in my own (obviously female) name. OH and his mate are going to London in August, and obviously there will be no problem with the yellow one. However, if I gave OH my card to use (PAYG) and he was stopped by an inspector, would it come up the card was registered to a Miss? (obv not him ha ha, he's 6ft and built like a brick outhouse :D)

Should I just give him the money to buy another one for himself just ot be on the safe side?

Ta muchly!

Mrs R xx

 

Hi Mrs Ryan

 

Not a stupid question at all!!

 

The short answer is YES, he can use the PAYG Oyster card.

 

Oyster PAYG cards are fully transferable just so long as there is no ticket loaded onto the Oyster card like a Travelcard (for the zones in which the person is traveling) which has a non-transferable status. If the card is purely loaded with funds for PAYG travel it matters not who it is registered to.

 

If stopped by an inspector they will scan the card and just see that it is a PAYG product with no other tickets and so long as there are adequate funds AND it has been validated at the start (and, depending on when stopped, the end) of the journey. It's important to let your boyfriend know to 'touch in and touch out' on every journey to avoid any problems.

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :D

 

Edit: A handy guide to Oyster here: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/tickets/Get-the-most-from-Oyster-January-2009.pdf

Edited by UNDERGROUND
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Thats brilliant Underground, thanks very much for your help on that one - you've just saved me a fiver!!!

THE PRETENDER AGENDA - August 30,2008 - 2ND ROW!!! WOO-HOO!! :-)

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR A FAB NITE LEE! xx

Sunderland 011008 - THE BEST BIRTHDAY PRESSIE EVER! 'Aww, it's your birthday! Happy birthday darlin!'

 

02 Apr 2008, 23:55

OfficialLeeRyan wrote:

i like that!! its simple and good and gets the fans involved aswell x x x

 

MY SUCCESSES -

 

1st Credit (Lloyds TSB) admitted no CCA, reply from OFT 130608, reply from FOS 040608, adjudication stage rejected but still no contact....

 

My mate (Littlewoods/Moorcroft)

300608 -Long running battle,threatening court, CCA letter NO 2 and harrassment letter sent - passed back to Littlewoods early July.

070808 - Passed to Debt Managers, Acct in dispute/BOG OFF letter sent 080808...

140808 - Letter from Debt Managers passing debt back to Littlewoods - RESULT! :D

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Hi Underground (and everybody else),

 

your thread here is worth gold as it is hard to get access to good advice in this matter. I am in a similar situation as mLondon, (caught first time with a friends weekly Student Oyster card) so I won't go into the details except to say that it was a stupid regrettable mistake.

 

I have two questions that I feel were not yet discussed:

 

- If the prosecution office takes legal action, and it comes to a guilty verdict by the court, what are the legal consequences in terms of a criminal record and penality.

 

- Is there anything wrong one could write to the prosecutions department in response to their initial letter. For instance, should I not admit any guilt in the letter but rather refer to the case as unfortunate incident etc.

 

Lastly, I am actually a French citizen and am due to return to my home country shortly. Would this have any impact on how the prosecutions department would pursue this case? i would think that they cannot really pursue the case abroad and would be just interested as I am to settle out of court i.e. not to go to court and just have me pay my penalty plus any administrative costs.

 

Any advice greatly appreciated.

 

Merci boucoup.

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Hi Underground (and everybody else),

 

your thread here is worth gold as it is hard to get access to good advice in this matter. I am in a similar situation as mLondon, (caught first time with a friends weekly Student Oyster card) so I won't go into the details except to say that it was a stupid regrettable mistake.

 

I have two questions that I feel were not yet discussed:

 

- If the prosecution office takes legal action, and it comes to a guilty verdict by the court, what are the legal consequences in terms of a criminal record and penality.

 

- Is there anything wrong one could write to the prosecutions department in response to their initial letter. For instance, should I not admit any guilt in the letter but rather refer to the case as unfortunate incident etc.

 

Lastly, I am actually a French citizen and am due to return to my home country shortly. Would this have any impact on how the prosecutions department would pursue this case? i would think that they cannot really pursue the case abroad and would be just interested as I am to settle out of court i.e. not to go to court and just have me pay my penalty plus any administrative costs.

 

Any advice greatly appreciated.

 

Merci boucoup.

 

 

Rather than go through all of a lengthy explanation of the legal process again, perhaps you will get a better understanding of what might happen by reading the thread relating to a recent case and conviction. This can be found here:

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/public-transport-trains-tubes/190520-253-30-rail-fine.html

 

In your specific case, you say that you used a fellow student's card and therefore the 'intent to avoid a fare' charge is the appropriate one. That is a serious matter and can carry a hefty penalty.

 

Yes, write to the office that have written to you.

 

I suggest it is always best to be entirely truthful. In my experience the rail companies are usually prepared to resolve these issues with a minimum of fuss if you are frank in your replies.

 

Contacting the rail company quickly may well lead to a swift and less expensive settlement than risking the issue of a summons and ultimate conviction.

 

Being a foreign national is not a bar to prosecution.

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Thank you very much for the quick reply and the helpful information. If I may, I have another question.

I spoke with someone in the TFL department regarding this matter. She gave me some information about the fees I may incur (average of 300GBP or less for first offense). While this is an insane amount of money, my main concern is about having a criminal record. She said that if I am able to “Pay Out Of Court” then I wouldn’t have a Criminal Record against me. However she did say most are summoned to go to court (which means I will have a criminal record).

Is there anything I can do to try to pay the fees and not have to go to court in order to avoid the Criminal Charges?

If I plead “guilty” would I automatically have a criminal charge against me? Even as it is a stupid mistake on my part I understand it’s beneficial to admit to my wrongdoings rather than trying to excuse out of the situation.

Thanks again for your help.. am very grateful!!!

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PS:

I intend to write the letter as you advise, being very frank and open about the event. That I took my friend's oyster card by mistake because I was in a rush to a doctor's appointment. I will be honest and humble in the letter, and apologetic for my actions. I will also send them a copy of my hospital appointment to prove (but not excuse) that I was in a rush for my doctor's appointment.

Do you advise this?

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Thank you very much for the quick reply and the helpful information. If I may, I have another question.

I spoke with someone in the TFL department regarding this matter. She gave me some information about the fees I may incur (average of 300GBP or less for first offense). While this is an insane amount of money, my main concern is about having a criminal record. She said that if I am able to “Pay Out Of Court” then I wouldn’t have a Criminal Record against me. However she did say most are summoned to go to court (which means I will have a criminal record).

Is there anything I can do to try to pay the fees and not have to go to court in order to avoid the Criminal Charges?

If I plead “guilty” would I automatically have a criminal charge against me? Even as it is a stupid mistake on my part I understand it’s beneficial to admit to my wrongdoings rather than trying to excuse out of the situation.

Thanks again for your help.. am very grateful!!!

 

 

If you are given the option of 'paying to close the case out of Court' and you make the payment suggested, there will be no criminal record whether a Summons has been issued or not.

 

The usual process is that if you have paid the figure that the rail company suggests, the Summons will be withdrawn, but that should not be relied upon as a standard practice. If an offence has been comitted and the due process has been followed through, the rail company are at liberty to prosecute any offender.

 

There will only be a 'criminal' record if your case is actually heard by the Magistrates and if you plead guilty or, if you are convicted by a successful prosecution.

 

It is up to the rail company or their appointed agents to decide whether the case is serious enough or, whether there is a relevant public interest factor that warrants prosecution.

 

The fact that fare evasion is so widespread and therefore substantial losses are incurred does mean that many cases will result in a prosecution, but if you have no previous record and deal with the matter truthfully and promptly, you will find that the prosecutors are generally fair-minded.

 

Yes, put any mitigating factors in your letter, but don't go for overkill is my advice.

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1 thing I would like to add to Old Codja's excellent post is that if anyone is looking for the matter to go away without recourse to court, one thing that is almost guaranteed to fail is trying to argue with the prosecutions dept.

If they didnt feel the evidence was there they wouldnt bother writing to you & as these matters are relatively easy to prove the chances are you will end up paying a whole lot more than just the settlement figure suggested.

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SPRO and Underground

 

I received a reply from the prosecution office today and they rejected my offer of settling out of court. I had presented them with lots of mitigating facts and made references to the TLC Revenue Enforcement and Prosecutions act but no luck even though I am first time offender.

 

Is there anything you can suggest that I can do to settle out of court at this stage? Will getting a lawyer help or just add to my expenses as my case is not very strong (used someone else's freedom pass) and therefore might not be dropped afterall? Can somebody clarify once and for all what the outcome of going to court will be in terms of criminal record and penalty charges. Some say its unrecognisable and some say the opposite and finally what will the charges be at minimum?

 

Many thanks

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oh I just read your post Old-CodJA regarding the fines. Thanks for that, very informative! To be honest I don't really mind the charges as long as they are below £500 but my major concern is the criminal record as I'm graduating from uni this spring and don't want it to have a detrimental effect on my career. Will it be unrecognisable or will I have to tick the box in the application forms? And how long will it be there before it's removed?

 

thanks!

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Hi Underground,

 

It is so brilliant what u are providing here!!!!

 

I would like ur advice on my case pls, I did posted it somewhere else too but here it is:

 

I was caught with a friend's freedom pass at a zone 1 station but I also had a monthly zone 1-3 oyster card on me, registered on my name and with a credit of 5.00GBP on it. Could this undermine the 'intention of fare evasion' by any chance?

 

The ticket inspector never told me that I do not have an obligation to stay for being interviewed. I was on my way to work & indicated this to him & that I just want it to be done as quickly as possible. He wanted to know the reason why, so I told him that its because of the type of job I have. He asked the details about it and maybe wrote it down, maybe not. He did take an awful long time to finish with all the writing (30 mins – but seemed longer), all this time I was stood there and feeling even more nervous and uncomfortable as everyone was looking and I was realising am gonna be late for work. I guess he did everything by the book but i felt that the more I tried to reason with him to be quick the more he took his time with the writing.

 

I was calm and polite all the way down, provided driving licence as proof of ID when asked. Shall I mention this when writing to them in my own defence? I was a bit shaking during the questioning and at one point I had one of the police officers coming up to me (with a sniffer dog...) to ask whether I was feeling ok.

 

I didn’t know what’s going to happen so the inspector said that I'll be sent a letter in which if I plead guilty I will get a penalty fine to pay, if I plead not guilty, I will have to appear on court and take it from there.

 

He got me to sign the notes he wrote, I did not read it cos didnt have the time and he was well aware of this, also I was way too nervous by then plus his handwriting was a total scribble to me as am a foreign person.

 

I received the letter from the tfl prosecutions department saying that they taking me to court & I should write them back in my own defence. I am really really scared of whats going to happen now!!!!!

 

I havent been given time off work to seek citizen advice bureau/legal advice.

 

I am sh*t scared of being prosecuted & having to go on court, I cannot afford to have anything on my CRB as I have to work with vulnerable people.

 

As I understand, if I'll be on court that will go on my CRB??? Also I understand that tfl treats this as a serious offence. Do they check how many times I might have used the freedom pass or they prosecute just for that one time when they caught me? Just so I’ll know what to expect coming….

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Tell them you used the wrong card by mistake and that you were holding the FP for you friend with their permission (obtain a letter from your friend)

If you had a valid ticket as you say, I think the matter will probably drop.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Underground

 

Thank you so much for your input on this site; I've been reading your posts and they're extremely helpful.

Edited by rewley
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The effect on someone's career of being convicted for an offence is something that might be considered, but would not on it's own be seen as good reason not to proceed unless evidence in the alleged case was particularly weak.

 

It is not a strong enough argument in its own right and I suggest that if it were pressed as the only defence, any Magistrate might be minded to observe that should have been considered by the defendant before committing the alleged act.

 

However, reading this in conjunction with the other factors that you mention ie: previous good character and immediate acceptance of guilt, I am surprised that from what you say, there is an unwillingness to consider settling this case.

 

Were there any other factors to be taken into consideration? Did your sister give any false details etc?

 

Your sister is admitting to have been using someone else's Freedom Pass and these are issued at public expense, so the rail companies will consider this a serious breach of trust.

 

Having admitted the alleged offence immediately and in writing later does make the case for prosecution so much more straightforward

 

A 'caution' in rail travel cases would be normally issued by the British Transport Police, but it is not they who are prosecuting this matter.

 

The 'settlement' process is effectively TfL's version of a warning and does not carry the stigma of a conviction. TfL are not obliged to settle out of Court.

 

I would continue to write to TfL in the hope of persuading them to take another view.

 

Instructing a Solicitor at this stage will simply add to your costs.

 

There is an old saying that goes along the lines of 'The man who defends himself in Court has a fool for a client'. You have not yet received a Summons, so that hoary old adage does not apply. (It was probably written by a lawyer to ensure that you pay lawyers unnecessarily in any case.)

 

In my experience, the main benefit of using a solicitor is that he or she may spot a procedural discrepancy that the untrained eye might miss. Your sister has to decide whether it is worth it at this stage.

 

If TfLs case is without flaw, all your sister will be paying a solicitor for is to plead on her behalf. That might succeed in getting an agreed settlement, but equally, it may not and will certainly incur substantial expense.

 

If a Summons is issued it will allege 'intent to avoid a fare'. It is pretty difficult to claim that avoiding payment was not the travellers intention when found to be using a named free pass, specifically issued for the sole use of someone else.

 

I know it's confusing, but if convicted this is what is known as a 'non-recordable offence', although factually, a record of a conviction for a summary offence will exist.

 

There is a general guide for prosecutors, but it is worth noting that these matters are suitable for putting before the Courts and the fact that fare evasion is so widespread makes it a matter of public interest.

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PS:

I intend to write the letter as you advise, being very frank and open about the event. That I took my friend's oyster card by mistake because I was in a rush to a doctor's appointment. I will be honest and humble in the letter, and apologetic for my actions. I will also send them a copy of my hospital appointment to prove (but not excuse) that I was in a rush for my doctor's appointment.

Do you advise this?

 

Sorry for my lack of replies all, not been on in a while.

 

hansfranz

 

You state that you took your friend's Oyster card by mistake because you were in a rush, did you tell the inspector this? Did you specifically state or imply intent? If you maintained throughout that you had made a mistake and didn't admit intent to avoid payment there is no case. Can you also prove that you had a valid ticket / Oyster card that would have covered the journey had you not mistakenly taken the wrong card?

 

UNDERGROUND :D

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SPRO and Underground

 

I received a reply from the prosecution office today and they rejected my offer of settling out of court. I had presented them with lots of mitigating facts and made references to the TLC Revenue Enforcement and Prosecutions act but no luck even though I am first time offender.

 

Is there anything you can suggest that I can do to settle out of court at this stage? Will getting a lawyer help or just add to my expenses as my case is not very strong (used someone else's freedom pass) and therefore might not be dropped afterall? Can somebody clarify once and for all what the outcome of going to court will be in terms of criminal record and penalty charges. Some say its unrecognisable and some say the opposite and finally what will the charges be at minimum?

 

Many thanks

 

thegalax

 

I'm sorry you didn't get a favourable result from your letter.

 

You have done everything you can in terms of trying to prevent the matter proceeding.

 

IMO it isn't worth hiring any sort of legal representation, this will merely add to your costs.

 

In my experience fines range from £100 to £500 (this was 4 years ago), depending on the person's income and circumstances and costs range from £10 to £100, again dependent on circumstances and whether the case has gone to trial.

 

To be honest, I really don't know what is recorded in terms of a criminal record, I will ask a colleague about this and post back.

 

When / if you get a copy of the prosecutions evidence scour it thoroughly for inconsistencies and errors, especially between the inspectors notebook and their witness statement. If you want me to cast an eye over, PM me with scans, obviously deleting any personally identifying information.

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :D

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Old CodJA, thank you very much for your response. No, she did not at any stage give any false details.

 

The inspector did not tell her that she was not obliged to stay with him before questioning - would that alone be enough to count as a procedural irregularity (bearing in mind she admitted it)? Would an inspector just insist that they did and it would be her word against his?

 

One other point; is there any chance that sometimes TFL fail to issue summons' within the 6 month time period - has that ever happened before? If so then is it better not to keep contacting them to remind them of our case? Clutching at straws here I know.

 

Underground, would be very grateful for any thoughts you might have on this post and my previous post above.

 

Many thanks both of you.

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Having PC problems :mad:

 

rewley

 

I had constructed a response for you, however my laptop died half way through and then refused to charge!

 

I will re-write this when I finish work - I'm not ignoring you!

 

Regards

UNDERGROUND :D

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Was she cautioned? If she was the inspector will first have ascertained that this caution was understood and then noted the time and her response. He or she will then take a note of the questions that were asked and the travellers responses in each case. The Inspectors statement will usually be written up from these notes.

 

Occasionally the inspectors will use a pro-forma statement and this may have also been signed by your sister at the time.

 

He or she should have made clear that the traveller was not under arrest, but it would not be sufficient grounds on its own to dismiss the report if that was not done and especially if the inspector had not said that the traveller was under arrest in any case.

 

Did your sister ask if she could leave?

 

Yes, occasionally the prosecution office administration might fail to issue a Summons within the period prescribing the six-month rule and in such cases the Court to whom they apply for listing will reject the Summons as 'out of time'.

 

However, you need to be clear in understanding what this means.

 

It does not mean that the case cannot be heard more than 6 months after the event.

 

It means that the information must be laid before a Court office to authorise the issue of a Summons within 6 months of the date of the incident.

 

Provided that requirement is met and dependent on how busy the Court is, that might mean it is still several weeks or even months later that the case actually comes up on a Court list.

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