Can civil action be taken against private people for breaching, or impeding/obstructing, or chilling the exercise of one’s human rights?
Alice assaulted Bob at a demonstration by grabbing his placards and tearing them up.
Police neglected to act on the assault due to the lack of injuries and limited monetary value of the damaged property.
Yet Alice had successfully thwarted Bob’s article-10 protected political expressions on what was perhaps even a rare significant occasion.
Bob has not suffered any psychic injuries or other emotional damage, but he is now daunted from returning to that (especially significant) location and some others on future occasions/dates that are significant to his cause because it feels almost pointless: he feels as though he will almost inevitably be outnumbered by Alice’s lawless horde of cronies all bitterly opposed to society tolerating any expression whatsoever of Bob’s (nonetheless entirely article 10-protected) political and philosophical beliefs.
What is the point of thinking up slogans and making placards and going all the way down to the town square, if they’re just going to get grabbed from him and torn up into pieces anyway? So Bob stays home and has his speech successfully chilled by Alice’s band of miscreant cronies: Bob has been successfully silenced and his article 10 rights effectively denied, if by a private individual. Can damages be claimed on this ground beyond those that might be claimed in case the articles that were grabbed and torn up had been a copy of a common and non-political newspaper that is widely available for free, rather than self- political protest materials such as slogan bearing placards? Or if it couldn’t form an independent cause of action or head of claim, could it be accounted for as an aggravating factor in assessing quantum of damages?
If a police force had improperly interfered with Bob’s peaceful political expressions, Bob would be able to claim compensation for breach of his human rights. But as Alice is a private individual, is there any action that Bob may take against her?