Don't Speak Your Mind In British Columbia -- Even At Home

from the travesty-of-justice dept

Just a warning if you live in British Columbia: you might not want to express your opinion out loud, ever. Even if you're at home. Jon R writes in with a somewhat horrifying story of a man in British Columbia who has been found guilty of defamation for a private conversation he was goaded into, at home, which was secretly recorded. Defamation laws (for libel and slander) were designed to stop the public presentment of false information, traditionally through some sort of media property. It certainly was never intended to be used for the random comments made privately at home.

In this case, a developer was annoyed that residents in one of the developments where he owned the water and sewage rights were complaining about the way he operated. So, he hired a private detective to pretend to be a potential homebuyer in the neighborhood. The detective knocked on the door of Jack and Judy Aasen and asked about the neighborhood. They, being friendly people, invited him in and had a nice discussion with him, pointing out that they liked the neighborhood very much, and the "only problem" was dealing with the guy who owned the utility, Brad Chapman, who was about to tear up their yard and cut back on their sewage service. The Aasens were upset that they had no choice to switch to another provider and that they had no say in stopping their lawn from being torn up. Jack jokingly referred to Chapman as "a prick" and said he "kind of makes the suggestion that he's got the mayor in his pocket." During this conversation with a guy they thought was just a friendly potential new neighbor, the detective was actually recording the whole thing.

Aasen and three others got charged with defamation for this, and the amazing thing is that the court agreed -- specifically on the comment about the mayor being in his pocket. Even that seems pretty questionable, though, since Aasen never said the mayor was actually in the guy's pocket, only that Chapman himself "kind of makes the suggestion" of that. To then charge the guy with defamation for that statement seems like a huge stretch. But, much more troublesome is this idea that you could go into someone's home, misrepresenting yourself, secretly record the conversation while coaxing the people you're talking to to say something negative about someone else... and get them found guilty of defamation for it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 6:15pm

    Sewer guy

    Wow, that sewer guy has some issues.
    He really needs to seek professional help, before he hurts someone.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Ben, 6 Dec 2008 @ 5:49am

      Re: Sewer guy

      He ALREADY hurt that family. The family that was taken to court, lost time from work, was found guilty of a crime, and was probably fined, or has the threat of monetary damages over their heads, was harmed. This guy needs to be punished, preferably by the courts, but failing that, by the people of the property he owns. This needs to be shouted from the hilltops, before all the voices in British Columbia are stilled.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        SomeLawyer, 6 Dec 2008 @ 7:29am

        Re: Re: Sewer guy

        Come on, its a civil suit, not criminal, they haven't lost yet. While I agree it's a silly suit, the defendant did imply that the plaintiff was engaged in corruption with a politician. It might be fair comment, it might be true, but it also might be defamation.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 7:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Sewer guy

          If I'm talking in my own house, i can save whatever the hell I please. I'm not publicly broadcasting it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2008 @ 12:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Sewer guy

            Ok, you want a public broadcast? Here goes:

            Chapman is "a prick" and has got the mayor in his pocket.

            This guy needs to be dumped into his own overflowing sewer pronto!

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ScruffyDan, 5 Dec 2008 @ 6:17pm

    I better keep quiet.

    I'd say something, but I live in BC, so I'll just be a good citizen and keep my mouth shut

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 6:23pm

    Wow

    Speechless. Ironically.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Mechwarrior, 5 Dec 2008 @ 6:32pm

    Wait...

    Wouldnt this be considered entrapment? Or does BC, or Canada, have laws against this sort of thing? Or is that just a USA statute?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 7:04pm

      Re: Wait...

      wouldn't entrapment only apply if it was a cop, not a PI?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SomeLawyer, 6 Dec 2008 @ 7:25am

      Re: Wait...

      This isn't entrapment in the US, entrapment is when a police officer creates the opportunity for the defendant to commit a crime. Actually, despite the view of the author, the story sure sounds like defamation to me - even under US law - assuming the comments were not true.

      No damages of course, but it's defamation

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Klyde Beattie, 11 Dec 2008 @ 9:57am

      Re: Wait...

      I don't think it's entrapment if it's a private citizen who does the 'entrapping'.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    JackBGood, 5 Dec 2008 @ 7:04pm

    The Nice Utility Man

    Everything is GREAT!!!, said the prisoner.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 7:33pm

    I'd kick Mr Chapmans ass, & since BC has minimal prison sentences, I'd probably be out in a month on a social program for misunderstood inmates... former BC resident here..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 7:39pm

    What a nice place to live

    Now alot more people are aware of the situation, you think anyone would consider buying ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    bob, 5 Dec 2008 @ 7:57pm

    No SLAPP

    Only on Canada eh?
    Entrapment is predominantly a criminal thing.
    This was a civil matter.
    Having read the CBC news article it looks like the B.C. Court of Appeal has some explaining to do. I hope the B.C. Civil Liberties Association helps make this right at the next court level.

    Interesting to note that Anti SLAPP legislation was repealed by the Liberal BC gov.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 8:48pm

    It's amazingly ironic that this guy is now known as being a prick worldwide, rather than simply in that town/area.

    Bravo, sir.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 8:56pm

    This is why we need Thought Police - so much more reliable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 5 Dec 2008 @ 9:53pm

    Incredible that a person can't say what they want in their own home. I didn't think we were suppose to be a Communist country. Maybe I am wrong. This should really help the developer in his future dealings shouldn't it. Just the type of person everyone wants to deal with.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 11:32am

      Re:

      What does Communism have to do with this?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2008 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Be cause in China and the former soviet union you would end up in gulag for speaking ill of the establishment... even in your home. No speaking ill of anyone anywhere... never know who is KGB.

        In Mother Russia, KGB own you!!!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    American Idiot, 5 Dec 2008 @ 10:19pm

    I am glad that I live in America where (for now) such a issue would not be considered libel - it would be taken at face value: a friendly conversation about the neighborhood and the "prick" in charge of the sewage.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 10:47pm

    That developer sounds like a prick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Dec 2008 @ 11:15pm

    Chapman must have a similar recording of things the mayor said. That's how you really get the mayor in your pocket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pjerky, 5 Dec 2008 @ 11:19pm

    I will say it loud and proud...

    The actions of one Brad Chapman, as mentioned in the above article show that he is undoubtedly and unequivocally a grade A Asshole and a PRICK. You see how easy that is? I hope everyone in Mr. Brad (Prick) Chapman's area drives by his home at all hours of the night honking and waving lit signs calling him a prick. It would be hilarious, ironic, embarrassing for him, and there would be way to many people for him to sue. It would be a losing battle.

    Course, I am an American and I can get away with saying whatever I want about others as long as I pass it off as opinion and not fact. Canada doesn't look so Utopian now does it you damn hippies?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      SomeLawyer, 6 Dec 2008 @ 7:31am

      Re: I will say it loud and proud...

      It wasn't the prick comment that is the subject of the lawsuit, it is implying that he bribed the mayor.

      Saying someone committed a crime is defamatory...even in the US. Calling him a prick is not. THAT is opinion.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        nasch, 8 Dec 2008 @ 8:04am

        Re: Re: I will say it loud and proud...

        You're saying in the US if I say "that guy sort of implied he has the mayor in his pocket" in the privacy of my own home, I'm guilty of defamation? I really, really, really hope you're wrong if that's what you're saying.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Government Investigator, 18 Jul 2009 @ 3:45pm

      Re: I will say it loud and proud...

      Mr. Chapman lives off the beaten path and it would be very difficult to "Drive Past His house" unless you have a boat. To find Brad Chapman's house you have to go out to the end of tronson Rd...the VERY end and then head eith up Goldclaim Road or down to the lake. To get to his Goldclaim Road house just keep going past the big green gates.

      I suggest you take a bucket of shit with you to leave him as a present....and yes, he is a globally know piece of shit...I should know, I work for the cunt!!!!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Joe Rider, 5 Dec 2008 @ 11:25pm

    He wasn't found libel for the "prick" part

    An absolute defense against any claim of libel is the truth -- meaning that if you can prove that what you are saying is true, then it clearly isn't libel.

    It's funny that the case in and of itself acts to prove that Brad Chapman is indeed a prick -- the only thing he was really found guilty of was the mayor comment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    some guy, 5 Dec 2008 @ 11:38pm

    Here's the email address for Brad Chapman's company in Vernon, BC. info@lbchapman.com

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 6:28pm

      And More...

      [Querying whois.internic.net]
      [Redirected to whois.netfirms.com]
      [Querying whois.netfirms.com]
      [whois.netfirms.com]
      Registrant:
      LB Chapman Construction Ltd.
      Browning, Gillian
      Box 1316
      Vernon, BC V1T6N6
      CA

      Domain name: lbchapman.com

      Administrative Contact:
      LB Chapman Construction Ltd. lbchapman@telus.net
      Browning, Gillian
      Box 1316
      Vernon, BC V1T6N6
      CA
      250-549-2907 Fax:

      Technical Contact:
      support@netfirms.com
      Manager, Domains
      5160 Yonge St., 1800
      Toronto, ON M2N 6L9
      CA
      +1.4166612100 Fax: +14166610700

      Registrar of Record: Netfirms Inc.
      Record expires on 2009-01-24.
      Record created on 2008-01-24.
      Database last updated on 2008-12-06 20:49:34.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Billy Bob, 7 Dec 2008 @ 7:11am

      Re: E-Mail

      I sent him an e-mail stating that I think that he's a PRICK! I hope everyone does the same! His mailbox will be overflowing and the prick can decide which of them is business related or which of them is factual.

      If someone acts like a PRICK, does that create a fact that he is a PRICK?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2009 @ 10:10am

      Re:

      Hahahahaha

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Paul, 6 Dec 2008 @ 12:10am

    Are you not allowed an opinion in Canada?

    I think all Canadians say "Aye" just to piss me off personally, and you can tell them I said that-in America!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    mike allen, 6 Dec 2008 @ 12:33am

    not only

    brad Chapman is a prick so is the judge,mayor, and probably 1/2 the Canadian government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 5:10pm

      Re: not only

      I take great offense to your comment. As a Canadian and British Columbian I know first hand that it is a full 90 percent of the Canadian government (at all levels) that are pricks.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      kilroy, 7 Dec 2008 @ 8:19pm

      Re: not only

      it is Canada ... it is winter ... there may be plenty of pricks but they are all pretty small - the cold will do that to a prick!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 1:29am

    And slowly, yet surely, Orwellian actions will make it so that I will have to move out into the desolate wastelands of the Arctic just so I can be as free as I was promised to be when my family fought in The Great War, World War II & Korea.

    Thanks Canada... Thanks.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 4:39am

    One might suggest that it was the judge and not the mayor that was in the pricks pocket.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 6:12am

    Is this good for business?

    Sending a PI out to get people, who are your customers, to say bad things about you in private and then sueing those people.

    It doesn't strike me as a business model you want associated with your business. Who would want to do business with you in the long run? It certainly eliminates the possibility of new business and limits the possibility of keeping your old business in the long run.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Overcast, 6 Dec 2008 @ 6:54am

    That's easy to fix. Next time someone comes to the door asking questions, tell them to leave or your calling the cops.

    But as a bonus in all of this, we all now know this developer sucks. BIG time. Just the idea he'd hire a PI to go after a customer would make me certainly stay the fook away, far away.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jesse, 6 Dec 2008 @ 8:47am

    It was on appeal too, the original court ruling sided with the defendant's. I am a BC resident, and this is truly sick. The worst part is, our last government put in anti-SLAPP legislation, but it was later repealed by our current government.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 8:48am

    I heard that that this chap aforementioned enjoys the company of the major of said town/village/region. However this is just between you and me, Anonymous Coward.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    amnotalawyer, 6 Dec 2008 @ 8:52am

    It's interesting.

    opinion vs fact
    private vs public

    Some one can not express their opinion in private ? That's BS

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tom, 6 Dec 2008 @ 9:13am

    So many levels of BS in BC

    Wow, how may ways to look at this thing. I read the link to the more compleat story and I must say first, that I am still not certain if this case is civil or creminal. As for the artical above, my understanding, of US law is that 'Liable' is the private spreading of "False" information about the actions of someone. Slander would, as emplied, be publicly (signs, broadcast, etc) distribution of again "False" infromation. My understanding is that this case was for 'defimation'. The is also the right to privacy in ones affairs. To me, there is no place where Privacy would be given more waight than in the privacy of ones own home.

    All the explaination of the where ases and where fores, come back to one fact as I see it. There seems to have been a court ruleing on evedence and testimony by Anonamouse Sources. In the more compleat story it was said that there were only testimony in the form of a transcript of the tape conversations. This dose not afford the accused to face and examin the testimony of his accuser.

    For me in the end there seems a great miscarrage of justice but I am still not sure of how this case has reached its level of discourse with so little to go on.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Errrrr, 6 Dec 2008 @ 12:28pm

      Re: So many levels of BS in BC

      Tom,

      I can not tell if your post is satire.
      If it is satire, then its funny.
      If not ... well I do not know where to begin.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Danny (profile), 6 Dec 2008 @ 10:07am

    QED

    The sewer guy hired an investigator to go into people's homes and induced them to talk about the sewer guy?

    I think he demonstrated himself to be a prick. QED.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rosetta Stoned, 6 Dec 2008 @ 10:58am

    Allegedly Ahem Eh Allegedly Ahem Eh

    Mister Chapman is an alleged prick who is allegedly shtuping the mayor in the ass in exchange for financial favors and political concessions. Mister Chapman also allegedly couldn't tell the difference between a sewer pipe and a crack pipe, even if it bit him in the ass. Go ahead and sue me, mo-fo.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kevin hash, 6 Dec 2008 @ 11:37am

    2 pricks

    Not only is the developer a massive tool, evidently the judge is, too.
    I'm glad I don't have to deal with either of them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ahhh, 6 Dec 2008 @ 11:40am

    email sent to brad... he is a dick, let him know that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Arky, 6 Dec 2008 @ 12:22pm

    Wait... isn't it illegal to record someone without a warrant?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Dec 2008 @ 6:04pm

    "C" is for...

    Socialist healthcare, and now court backed entrapment/eavesdropping.

    C is for Canada
    C is for Communist

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dawger, 6 Dec 2008 @ 11:20pm

    Once Again

    Streisand Effect.....

    Why do they not learn?
    But then another idiot is born every 7 seconds.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2008 @ 2:08am

    B is for bullshit

    Come on, this is cbc, msn, and a handful of blogs that reference these articles ... take a closer look; can anyone find a reference number or any indication that Mr Aasen is real? Retired judge Jack and his wife Judy. It seems like the only point is to make Canada look like an unstable country on the brink of shambles, and any idiot outside of the united states can see otherwise. I'll be the first one to say hey something's wrong, but only as soon as I see that this really happened and a news article about Canada from a biased news source is not what I call objective. After all, how many articles were out there about Obama's middle name, or Obama the Muslim Terrorist, etc. It's all bullshit unless you've researched it yourself and posted the info for anyone else with half a brain to take 5 minutes and verify.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      A is for Anon, 7 Dec 2008 @ 8:53am

      Re: B is for bullshit

      You are comparing a small town sewer guy to a presidentiual candidate and implying that they would get equal coverage in the mainstream media. Then you claim that lack of said coverage means the story is a stretch or is outright bogus. This does not make sense, and the "make Canada look like an unstable country " seems out of context.

      As far as troll rants go, I'll give you a C-.
      You need to give your rant a bit more thought.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Omali, 7 Dec 2008 @ 8:56am

      Re: B is for bullshit

      Yes, because any news story relating to anything bad in Canada is attempting to show that the country is in shambles. Apparently, being an idiot outside of the US hasn't helped you see this at all.

      And if you're looking for a non-bias news source, good luck. Just keep sticking your head in the sand and disregarding all the bad words as fake. You're going to get real far in your unstable country falling into shambles (lulz)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Ranzear, 7 Dec 2008 @ 2:36am

    Streisand effect coming to full power on this prick.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lee Riggenbach, 7 Dec 2008 @ 6:11am

    Free Speech

    This sure makes me appreciate "Freedom of Speech" here in the USA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    p cost, 7 Dec 2008 @ 9:03am

    dont speak your mind

    its the same everywhere!!! goverment can break any law that pleases them, then they pass laws to screw anyone who speaks out against them!the only way to win is keep speaking out and voting them out!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    RoadRaaash, 7 Dec 2008 @ 12:23pm

    Freedom Isn't Free

    God bless the USA

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous, 7 Dec 2008 @ 1:51pm

    We actually have a concept called "freedom of speech" down here in the US, and a court case called New York Times v. Sullivan protects everyone from slander or libel charges, unless the person claiming to be slandered can prove actual, deliberate malice as well as falsehood, a very high standard of proof to meet.

    I don't understand why B.C. feels the right not to be offended takes precedence over the right to speak your mind. What are they smoking up there?

    Well, I guess it's because they're Canucks. Instead of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they have "peace, order, and good government." Reminds me why I live in the US (though a dash of Canadian socialized medicine would be a good thing around here, instead of paying $1000 a month at the pharmacy.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Starry, 7 Dec 2008 @ 3:16pm

    Zimbabwe

    Canada has sliding down the slippery slope to "Alice in Wonderland" for years...it has arrived.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Dec 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Another case of trying to squash public speech and having it instead aired over the internet for anyone to hear / read. You have to wonder if this guy Chapman really got what he wanted. Anyway I guess I won't be moving to BC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SunKing, 8 Dec 2008 @ 6:42am

    Free Speech One Each!

    Brad Chapman is a PRICK !

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Raymond, 8 Dec 2008 @ 7:26am

    Actually, he defamed himself

    "it is implying that he bribed the mayor." No, it's implying that he claimed to have bribed the mayor. In other words, the man defamed himself.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    known coward, 8 Dec 2008 @ 12:38pm

    is that a mayor in your pocket

    . . . or are you just happy to see me?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    logicprobe, 12 Dec 2008 @ 10:58pm

    illegal recording?

    In most states in the U.S. it is illegal to record a private conversation without the consent of all parties, and one is assumed to have privacy in one's own home.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • Tyra Banks

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    if you ever read this tyra add me on myspace and have me on your show
    dariuswesley61@yahoo.com
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    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Due Dilligence by John Vanderleese, 18 Jul 2009 @ 4:05pm

    Leanard Brad Chapman

    Word is slowly getting around that LB is not a good company to hire. I am a recently upgraded supervisor with LB and I can tell you this much, as an employee I have to toe the line but as a Christian I have to be honest with my convictions. We have been kicked out of nearly every long term contract we have gained recently. Sparkling hills fired us for over charging, Predator doesn't want us back because they know Chapman does not stand behind their work.

    I'm here for the money and nothing else.

    JV.
    Vernon BC
    Supervisor
    Chapman Contracting a.k.a Braden Contracting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 1:44pm

    Yay!!! chapans dead

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Oct 2015 @ 8:09pm

    Yah I guess he finally got was deserved

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Eugene Blahblah, 7 Apr 2016 @ 9:02pm

    Karma's a bitch

    Brad and Flo Chapman were killed in a plane accident October 2015....Karma's a bitch.

    EM

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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