A Libyan man has been cleared of stabbing a man’s father after an argument in New Malden McDonald’s.

Basel Elmaarfi was accused of stabbing Alexander Danabalan, now 41, in Sussex Road on the evening of March 30, 2015, after his son Brandon had argued with Mr Elmaarfi in the nearby restaurant.

A brawl had broken out after Mr Danabalan arrived to collect his son from the restaurant, during which he was stabbed in the leg and back.

Mr Elmaarfi, 19, of Ullswater Crescent, was cleared of the offence at Kingston Crown Court today.

In his closing statement, defending lawyer Jonathan Kinnear said: “It is clear he [Mr Danabalan] was stabbed, it’s clear that he was stabbed twice, there is no excuse for that.

“You cannot be sure that Mr Elmaarfi was the stabber. There is no forensic evidence to link Mr Elmaarfi with the knife or the stabbing.

“He was either impossibly lucky or he didn’t do it.”

CCTV shown at the trial displayed Mr Elmaarfi and Mr Danabalan’s son Brandon arguing in McDonald’s moments before the stabbing, with the row quickly spilling out into the street.

Brandon Danabalan denied knowing Mr Elmaarfi before the incident, despite phone records showing a message asking him for drugs, which he put down to lending his phone to a friend.

In a heated exchange during the trial Brandon Danabalan gestured towards the dock and branded Mr Elmaarfi a “f****** p****” and told him to “go and do his f****** time”.

Mr Kinnear added: “He turned in quite an extraordinary performance. Brandon was prepared to do anything that he could to incriminate Mr Elmaarfi.”

The trial was the second time Mr Elmaarfi had faced charges of grievous bodily harm over the incident, after a jury in August failed to reach a verdict, prompting a retrial. He was held in custody between the trials.

Dad Giuma Elmaarfi said: “I respect the law and accord in Britain. Even if something like this happens it is a mistake.

“It’s very frustrating, it’s nearly destroyed the family.”