Dear Chris Blackhurst,
You will have seen the Open Letter to Andreas Whittam Smith published today by my fellow New Statesman blogger Guy Walters.
This is just a follow-on from that, written from a slightly different perspective, by someone who shares the concerns about your employee's journalism but does not want to see your employee either humiliated or unfairly treated by the present (and past) management of the Independent. It is in the nature of managers - and those with power generally - to protect their own positions; and so my worry is that there is face-saving operation being conducted under the cloak of an "investigation".
Whoever is "David Rose" (and there is conclusive evidence as to who it was on at least one occassion, should your investigation really care to find it) there is no doubt that an Independent IP address was used to amend Wikipedia entries of those opposed to your employee in various public debates. The Wikipedia user has now been barred for violation of Wikipedia policies. As (at least some of) the editing was from an Independent IP address, there perhaps should be an apology by the Independent to those who were smeared and defamed by this "David Rose". The use of the IP address is surely enough to trigger this apology; there is no need to also unmask the person in question before that apology is given.
In respect of your employee's previous journalism, the issue is not that he be "punished". Unlike other journalists and reporters, there is no suggestion of any crime.
Instead, your readers need to be alerted to the possibility of information not being soundly based in his previous articles. The standard of your employee's writing is very high, and his pieces are informative and often moving; there is no need for them to be taken down from your website or deleted, as it were, from your back catalogue. All that is required is a simple "health warning" to be posted on each article, saying - as neutrally as possible - that there may be quotes and and factual assertions which have not been properly sourced and that the reader should take that into account.
And as for your employee, who must be under considerable stress and worry, please consider sensible options such as sending him on a journalism course and assigning him to an experienced sub-editor. There is no need for him to carry all the burden of what, as is implied by Guy Walters, seem like far wider managerial and editorial failures. You have a moral, as well as legalistic, duty of care to him. All that his fans of his polemical writing (of which, in general, I am one) want is the confidence that they can rely on any factual assertions in his future writing. That will not be difficult to put right.
No purely anonymous comments will be published; always use a name for ease of reference by other commenters.