Scottish ministers did not support an inquiry into historic child abuse amid fears of prejudicing judicial proceedings, newly released files have revealed.
The Labour-led Scottish Executive discussed the desire for a public apology in December 2004 but felt an inquiry “was not the best way to proceed”.
Documents from the Scottish Cabinet also show ministers did not want to pursue any action that could prejudice ongoing cases at the time.
The files say: “In a discussion, it was noted that while the First Minister’s statement would address the desire for a public apology, the Executive could expect to be pressed further to agree to a public inquiry.
“Although the Executive had the greatest sympathy for the victims, it would be important to set out clearly why it was felt a public inquiry was not the best way to proceed.
“The Executive had also to avoid any action that might prejudice cases currently being pursued through the courts.”
The Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry was set up in October 2015 to look into cases of children suffering while in care across the country.
It started with opening statements in May 2017 and remains ongoing.