A highly regarded teacher involved in a steady relationship with a 15-year-old student was convicted of indecent assault yesterday. An off-duty policeman caught him fondling the girl in a parked car near a playground in Siu Sai Wan. The art teacher, 28, pleaded guilty at Eastern Court to indecent assault. But his lawyer, Dean Tang Kwok-wai, pleaded with magistrate Garry Tallentire to take into account the steady six-month relationship between the teacher and his pupil. Mr Tang also submitted 21 letters of reference praising the teacher - 15 from present and past colleagues, five from his students and one from the victim. 'The fact remains that you are in a position of trust,' Mr Tallentire said. 'She was but 15 and you are approaching twice her age. In a later stage in life that doesn't matter but at this stage, it does. 'It is even sadder to read the testimony from your colleagues and what amounts to almost a plea on your behalf from the girl.' He praised the teacher for facing up to his responsibilities and what he had done, but said a lengthy custodial sentence was appropriate. The teacher was remanded for sentencing in Siu Lam psychiatric centre until October 14, pending reports.