The Scottish Government has u-turned on its plans to abolish corroboration in this parliament.

Justice Secretary Michael Matheson announced the move to an almost empty Holyrood as most MSPs were on the general election campaign trail.

The proposal, championed by his predecessor Kenny MacAskill, had sparked real concern among many lawyers that a basic safeguard of Scots Law was to be lost.

But others, including both the police and advocates for rape victims, had hoped scrapping the rule of corroboration, under which at least two pieces of evidence are required, would boost woeful conviction rates for crimes committed in private.

Mr Matheson was speaking almost exactly a year after Mr MacAskill, shelved the proposal pending an independent study led by Lord Bonomy, a High Court judge.

That report, by Lord Bonomy and his colleagues, was finally published on Tuesday - right in the heart of a raging election campaign.

It came up with a series of proposed balances to support people accused of crime if corroboration was abolished.

However, Lord Bonomy also recommended that the rule should be preserved for cases where the accused as confessed or where evidence is hearsay.

Mr Matheson told Holyrood he believed corroboration and the Bonomy recommendations should be viewed as a package - and dealt with in the next parliament, after the 2016 Scottish elections.

He told MSPs: "The issues Lord Bonomy raises are of crucial importance, and we should take the time to consider them fully.

"The Scottish Government will look at Lord Bonomy's detailed recommendations as a package, alongside the corroboration requirement itself, and form a view on the best way forward."

Lord Bonomy, among other balancing recommendations, said he believed accused people should be able top get free legal advice in police stations and that all police inter views should be videoed.

His group also questioned dock identifications and called for more research in to how juries reach verdicts.

Many justice insiders believe it is not the rule of corroboration that prevents convictions for rape and other crimes committed in private, but the reluctance of juries to convict.

Police Scotland has brought a renewed focus on investigation rapes, other sexual offences and domestic violence since it was set up.

The number of recorded rapes has gone up. So, said Mr Matheson, have convictions.

Speaking after his ministerial statement, he said: "Only a few weeks ago, the First Minister announced funding of £20m over three years which will speed up the processing of cases through the courts, support victims, and tackle the behaviour of perpetrators to stop reoffending. The funding has been widely welcomed by victims' organisations, and we will continue to work with them to support victims of crime.

"There is no doubt that access to justice is improving.

"Despite overall falls in crime, more cases involving crimes such as sexual offences and domestic abuse are reaching our courts. During 2013/14 alone there was a 50 per cent increase in the number of cases involving domestic abuse being sent to court and the number of convictions for sexual offences, rape and sexual assault increased by 20 per cent."

In Holyrood, Mr Matheson refused to apologise for what Liberal DemocratAlison McInnes, a prominent critic of the policy, called the "obstinacy" of SNP ministers on corroboration.

Legal bodies welcomed Bonomy's recommendations.

The Faculty of Advocates stressed "recognition that a simple majority jury verdict is untenable in any post-corroboration system".

Alistair Morris, president of the Law Society of Scotland, said: "Lord Bonomy is recommending measures which could improve the criminal justice system whether or not the corroboration requirement is abolished.

"The Law Society strongly believed that abolishing the requirement for corroboration in isolation without a full review of its role in our criminal justice system would lead to an increased risk of miscarriages of justice."

The abolition of corroboration will now be removed from the Criminal Justice Act passed last year. Several senior parliamentarians had opposed the move, including the justice committee chaired by the SNP's Christine Grahame.