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ScriptRunner Behaviour - Cast Problem (String vs. Date)

I'm using the code below in a ScriptRunner Behaviour to calculate lead time in working days based on today's date and the "Start Date" date picker custom field. No errors are shown in the Behaviours console and it seems to work. However there are repeated errors in the JIRA logs which read: groovy.runtime.typehandling.GroovyCastException: Cannot cast object '' with class 'java.lang.String' to class 'java.util.Date'

Can someone help explain why this is happening and what I can do to resolve it? I've tried several other approaches but all of them flag different but related errors directly within the Behaviours console and won't validate.

import java.util.Date.*
import com.atlassian.jira.issue.Issue
import com.atlassian.jira.component.ComponentAccessor

def StartDateField = getFieldByName("Start Date")
def LeadTimeField = getFieldByName("Lead Time (Days)")

def date_start = new Date()
def date_end = StartDateField.getValue() as Date

def date_limit = date_end.format('yyyy-MM-dd');
def date_aux = date_start.format('yyyy-MM-dd');
def date = date_start;
def i = 0;
def days = 0;
def weekday = null;
while ( date_aux != date_limit ) {
weekday = Date.parse('yyyy-MM-dd', date_aux)[Calendar.DAY_OF_WEEK];
if (!( weekday == Calendar.SUNDAY || weekday == Calendar.SATURDAY )) {
date = date + 1;
date_aux = date.format('yyyy-MM-dd');


 Much appreciated.

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Can anyone help me figure this out, please?

Have you found any solution for this? I get a similar error message

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