A Tauranga man who held a butter knife and then a fork to the throat of a fellow student saying "Allahu Akbar" has been discharged without conviction.

Aaron Yoseph Glover-Talebi, 21, who earlier pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault, insisted he had been joking when he made the terrorism-related threat to his victim.

Judge David Cameron said he was satisfied there was a low risk of the defendant reoffending and noted he had already paid for his "stupidity and bad taste" with expulsion from his studies at Avonmore Institute.

Glover-Talebi pleaded guilty to an assault charge last month.

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He had told police his actions at the Avonmore Institute on September 13 were intended as a joke.

The court heard that at 7.30am on September 13 Glover-Talebi and his victim were in the kitchen area of Avonmore Institute in Second Avenue.

There had been no earlier grievances between the pair who were classmates.

The defendant was stirring a cup of coffee with a butter knife before he walked up
behind the victim who was sitting on a couch nearby, wrapped his arm around him and presented the knife at his chest.

Glover-Talebi said "Allahu Akbar" into the victim's ear, the court heard.

The victim grabbed the defendant's arm, pushed him away, and told him to stop.

Three hours later, the victim was seated at a table in the institute's cafeteria with some classmates, who included Glover-Talebi.

The defendant got up and approached the victim from behind, reached around him and put a butter knife beneath his chin near his throat.

The victim grabbed Glover-Talebi's wrist and pushed him away.

About two hours later the victim was again in the cafeteria, when a few minutes later the defendant approached him again and held a fork to his throat.

The victim grabbed the defendant and a short scuffle ensued. He suffered no injuries.

Glover-Talebi told the police his behaviour was intended "as a joke" and claimed "terrorism was topical at the moment".