A court sketch artist has been denied permission to draw Snowtown accomplice Mark Ray Haydon, as the South Australian government tries to use new legislation to deem him a high-risk offender before his sentence ends. 

The ABC sought permission for an artist to draw Haydon as he appeared in court via video link on Wednesday morning, but was denied by Justice Tim Stanley after Haydon’s legal counsel said it would impact his ability to rehabilitate within the community. 

Haydon was jailed for 25 years for seven counts of assisting the Snowtown killers, who murdered 11 people in total.

The state government changed the law after the ABC exclusively revealed in January that authorities would be powerless to stop Haydon being released without restrictions or supervision on May 21, because there was no guarantee he would fit the definition of a high-risk offender.

In the Supreme Court Haydon – who has dark brown hair, a grey beard and was wearing glasses – remained silent as he appeared via video link throughout the first hearing of the state government’s application.

Defence lawyers for Haydon argued publishing his image would negatively impact his ability to rehabilitate into the community.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

The ABC sought permission to allow an artist to sketch Haydon, however Barrister Marie Shaw KC – appearing for Haydon – argued that publishing Haydon’s appearance would be “contraindicative” to his ability to rehabilitate into the community.

“Your Honour, I can’t see any basis for that my client is in custody and we object to it,” Ms Shaw said.

“This application is about a man who is 65 years of age, about to be on a pension, who has been in custody for 25 years and your Honour will note from the parole board report what he needs and hopes for is socialisation.

“To essentially commence the entire process with approval for a sketch to be deployed so as he attempts to re-enter the community is completely contraindicated on what your Honour is likely to see in the parole report.”

Justice Stanley accepted Ms Shaw’s argument.

“I think there are genuine issues about whether or not publication of an image of him at this stage might be counter-productive, so I dismiss the application,” he said.

The SA Parole Board previously said Haydon would be moved to a low-security pre-release centre after he was granted parole two weeks ago, but it is unclear when he will be released into the community.

Counsel for the Attorney-General, Mike Wait SC asked Justice Stanley to order a number of reports including a medical assessment of Haydon.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

Counsel for the Attorney-General, Mike Wait SC, told the court that the state government’s legislative amendments came into effect last week, meaning the case would proceed under the new provisions.

The law change strengthens the government’s application by expanding the definition of a high-risk offender to include people who assist in murders and sexual crimes, or in covering them up.

Mr Wait asked Justice Stanley to order a number of reports, including a medical assessment of Haydon’s likelihood of reoffending.

Defence lawyer Sam Abbott KC also asked the court to order the “entire [Department for] Correctional Services file” relating to Haydon.

Court documents previously obtained by the ABC show the government will argue in court that Haydon still posed an “appreciable risk” if he was released into the community without supervision.

The government also wants the court to impose interim supervision conditions, in case a decision was still pending by that date.

Haydon is expected to face court again in April.